Nance Van Winckel is the author of five books of poetry, including No Starling and After a Spell, winner of the Washington State Governor's Award for Poetry, and three collections of short stories. Her numerous awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and Poetry Magazine's Friends of Literature Award. She lives near Spokane, Washington, with her husband, the artist Rik Nelson.
Nance Van Winckel's wry, provocative slant on the world and her command of images and ideas enliven these stunning poems. Presented in two parts, Pacific Walkers first gives imagined voice to anonymous dead individuals, entries in the John Doe network of the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Records. The focus then shifts to named but now-forgotten individuals in a discarded early-1900s photo album purchased in a secondhand store. We encounter figures devoid of history but enduring among us as lockered remains, and figures who come with histories—first names and dates, and faces preserved in photographs—but who no longer belong to anyone.
The voice that brings us these poems is multifaceted—now a reporter for the Daily Sun, now a child, now a ghost, now historical, now autobiographical—always revelatory in its life force and urgent questioning. It is, finally, as fluid as the river that winds through, uniting these singular and unknown selves. Their worlds—and ours—intersect and flicker in this haunting book.
"An exquisite collection. Those who love stories; those who are interested in ways of thinking about memory, the passing of time, family history, old photographs; and those who enjoy just hovering for a moment in the beauty of arresting details and language will be eager readers of Pacific Walkers."
"Nance Van Winckel's new collection is alive with the natural world, full of kinetic storytelling and a willingness to observe even the smallest parts of our lives which, of course, often impact us the most."
University of Washington Press