About Nance

Nance Van Winckel, originally from Roanoke, Virginia, has lived in Spokane, Washington since 1990. She graduated from Columbus High School in Wisconsin and from the U. of Wisconsin--Milwaukee. She received her M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

Our Foreigner is Nance's newest collection of poems. As a review in Prairie Schooner explains, the book "explores, among other conditions and anomalies, ideas of journey, progress and regress, travel both physical and psychological. A variety of voices populate this collection, speakers from the past, or bright, sassy, contemporary folks talking as if all they have to do is open their mouths and out flies poetry. They manage, these poems, to be at once plain-speaking and brainy, lucid and deeply mysterious."

Book of No Ledge is a collection of visual poems, altered pages from an old encyclopedia. It appeared in September 2016 with Pleiades Press.

Pacific Walkers, Nance's sixth book of poems, was released from U. of Washington Press in 2014 and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She also recently published

Ever Yrs, is a novel in the form of a photograph album (2014, Twisted Road Publications). See the link to sample pages below the book to the left.

A fourth collection of linked short stories, Boneland, came out with U. of Oklahoma Press in October 2013.

Nance’s other books of poetry include: No Starling (University of Washington Press, 2007), Bad Girl, with Hawk (U. of Illinois Press, 1987), The Dirt (Miami U. Press, 1994), Beside Ourselves (Miami University Press, 2003), and After A Spell (Miami U. Press, 1998), which received the Washington State Governor’s Award for Poetry.

She's received two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, three Pushcart Prizes, Poetry Magazine’s Friends of Literature Award, three Washington State Artist Trust Awards, The Midland Authors Award, and awards from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Gettysburg Review, Field, Volt, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Ploughshares.

Nance with her husband, artist Rik Nelson
Nance's other three books of short stories include Curtain Creek Farm (Persea Books, 2000), Quake (U. of Missouri Press, 1998) which received the 1998 Paterson Fiction Prize, and Limited Lifetime Warranty (U. of Missouri Press, 1994). Recent stories appear in The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, and AGNI. Nance received a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship for the book Boneland.

Nance teaches in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has also taught at Lake Forest College in Illinois and is Professor Emerita in the MFA in Writing program at Eastern Washington University, where she served as editor of the literary journal Willow Springs from 1990-96. She was a poet in residence at the University of Montana and Westminster College, a Stadler Poet in Residence at Bucknell University, and a fiction writer in residence at Randolph College. She has taught at Centrum Writers Conference, Utah’s Writers @ Work, Portland Oregon’s Wordstock, Seattle’s Hugo House, and at many writing festivals and conferences. She is available for readings and teaching residencies. See contact link above.



Nance has invented a term for her new, cross-discipline work: the PHO-TOEM. She melds photography (her own) with small poems and other graphic material she "graffities" onto the photographic surface.

The PHO-TOEMS link at the top of this page will take you to more examples, or see the link below for the full gallery of this new work.


"Nance Van Winckel has long been one of my favorite poets—a voice I turn to again and again for imagery and music and to remind me of the loveliness and intensity of the subtle narrative woven into the subtle lyric. Pacific Walkers shows her at the peak of her powers. It is a riveting book, accumulating in strangeness and fearsome magic as it moves through the mysteries of existence and mortality." —Laura Kasischke
"The poems of NO STARLING project life through a strange, wonderful prism, part heavily refracting language, part heady, playful imagination. Nothing is stranger than what is true to life. Nothing is more necessary." —THE CINCINNATI REVIEW
received the Friends of Literature Award from POETRY MAGAZINE.
Linked stories, each told by a resident of a commune in Eastern Washington.