Nance NOW (above) and THEN (below)

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.

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, a novel in the form of a photograph album (Twisted Road Publications). 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, a Pushcart Prize, Poetry Magazine’s Friends of Literature Award, two 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 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). New stories appear in The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, and AGNI. Nance received a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship for the forthcoming book Boneland. (For an excerpt from the new book, click on "Black Fields, Black Horses" to the right.)

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. She was the Stadler Poet in Residence in the spring of 09 at Bucknell University and fiction writer in residence at Randolph College in 2010. 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
NO STARLING was published in 2007 by the University of Washington Press.
received the Friends of Literature Award from POETRY MAGAZINE.
Linked stories, each told by a resident of a commune in Eastern Washington.
Originally appeared in AGNI