No Starling: Poems

Paperback | August 2, 2007

byNance Van Winckel

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The new century peeled me bone bare like a song

inside a warbler - that bird, people,

who knows not to go where the sky's

stopped.

Over the years, Nance Van Winckel's extraordinarily precise and energetic voice has built upon its strengths. Unpredictable, wry, always provocative, displaying a sureand startling command of images and ideas, her poems make every gesture of language count. In No Starling, Van Winckel accomplishes what has proven to be so difficult for poets across time: a deeply satisfying balance of the spiritual and political. Although richly peopled with figures from this and parallel worlds - Simone Weil, Verlaine, Nabokov, Eurydice, "the new boys" working in the morgue, and others - No Starling moves beyond a reliance on the dramatic resonance of individual characters. Its vision is deeper, its focus both singular and communal: the self on its journey through the world ("Mouth, mouth: my light / and my exit. Let nothing / block the route"), and our responsibilities as a people for the precarious state of that world.

Slate

My too-sharp lefts kept making the bundle in back

sluice right. I was driving with the dead Nance

in the truck bed. The gas gauge didn't work

so there was an added worry of running

out of juice. Her word. Her word one

windy evening with the carpets

stripped from a floor, which

surprised us as stone - slate

from the quarry we were

headed to now, but Let's first have us

some juice, she'd said, then, barefoot on bare slate.

The truck-bedded Nance, wrapped in her winding sheet,

thuds left, clunks right. I'm sorry about my driving,

sorry about the million lovely pine moths mottled

on my windshield. Thank God, here's the quarry,

and there's the high ledge, where, as a girl long

ago, she'd stepped bravely from the white

towel and stared down. Then she'd held her nose

and leapt out into it - this same cool and radiant air.

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From the Publisher

The new century peeled me bone bare like a songinside a warbler - that bird, people,who knows not to go where the sky'sstopped.Over the years, Nance Van Winckel's extraordinarily precise and energetic voice has built upon its strengths. Unpredictable, wry, always provocative, displaying a sureand startling command of images and ideas, ...

Nance Van Winckel teaches in the graduate creative writing programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College. She is the author of four books of poetry and three collections of short stories. Her numerous awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, two Washington State Artist Tru...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:76 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.25 inPublished:August 2, 2007Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295987367

ISBN - 13:9780295987361

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

I / DoormanSlateWaking, WorkingMisterWe Called Goodgye, but She Was Already GoneAgapeBlack Stitches, Black KnotsDoormanThe New Boys Will Never Love YouIn the New Boy's In-BasketAll Asides AsideWhite MarginaliaErrataRE: The Two New BoysThe Rattled Hymn of the Republic

II / Middle, NowhereBefore There Was a Road (On the Way to Wilburville)Middle, NowhereSeme and SemaphoreI Am on a BreakRetrograde: Echoes from Earlier ChaptersPassing Through the Shadows of Great BuildingsThe UsualWhen the Van Broke Down

III /ThresholdReentryWhite Brides, White MistressesAlmost an End of AbsintheVerlaine in PrisonSimone Weil at the Renault Factory (1935)At Some Point the River Always Veers Away from the RoadThe Winter CowEurydiceOur Ladies of ElsewhereYou People

IV / We Fall in BehindWe Fall in BehindFuck ItNotesUpriver: Distinctions of Never and EverThe Ones You Love Are ColdLet Me Remind You You Are Still Under OathI Talk to the Bread, I Chat with the DoughBreaking Only Little LawsIndiscriminate KissesLeastwaysAdieuHand-Embroidered Mourning Piece for Clara Elisabeth Kriebel, 1779Bid Me Be the Bird

AcknowledgmentsAbout the Poet

Editorial Reviews

No Starling touches upon spiritual and political issues alike, signing aloud in a crystal clear voices that deserves to be heard.

- Midwest Book Review