Nance Van Winckel
Location: Liberty Lake, WA | Date: October 30, 2013
"I work on 3 different computers. This big iMac here that I use and then I have a laptop Mac, and then I also have an iPad."
"I had been a pre-med major all through college but when I got to graduate school I was totally happy doing my writing thing and I never looked back. So I started my so-called practice there where I worked every day on my writing. That was 1975."
"Over the years I've started working on maybe two or three poems almost kind of simultaneously, on the same page, which feels kind of nutty, but what I was experiencing that led me this way was that a lot of times things would be coming to me - images, lines --- that didn't seem to belong to the poem I thought I was working on. So I realize it might be helpful to not confine myself. "
section 3, "Poetry Writing Play"
"I don't really see a lot of similarities between writing stories and writing poems in terms of the drafting process -- well, in terms of anything. Stories are really different. "
"Poems are more like a daily practice for me. I like poems. They don't-- For me, they're more about sound and imagery, voice. Who's talking in my poems-They're often some part of me that I didn't really know it was there. "
"I need to get located in time and space. And what the heck is going on? What dramatically is happening in the poem? A lot of times I'll have a fix on one or the other of these questions and am really feeling unclear about the others."
section 6, "Revision Practices Play"
"With a poem, I slash mercilessly. I'm a slasher, and I move things around--same in fiction, I'm really thinking about pacing. "
" I tried three times to write a novel, and I got 200 pages in three times. I showed a couple of those books to friends who are fiction writers and they confirmed for me what I thought was true. The way I phrase it to myself is: they didn't have a big enough engine"
"I probably do 2 or 3 handwritten drafts and I'll actually rip the notebook page out. I have notebooks and notebooks where I have a big X through the page so that I do not get confused that I'm actually done with this version, and now if I look hard enough in the notebook, there is a later version of these poems."
section 9, "Modes of Revision in Poetry"
"It's just another process of just printing out all the poems and just living with them. That takes, I don't know maybe a year, two, maybe even longer sometimes of experimenting with sections, you know, the arrangement."
"I'll come back to it over a period of a couple of weeks on the computer then (once it's on the computer file) and look at it, probably tinker with it a little bit more before, and then I'll start sending it out probably."
"My publishers I think have copies, you know. They have pdfs of everything."
"I think it's mostly been gradual."
"One of the things I like about doing it on the computer is that I can close my eyes which is really odd but I like it. So, it seems to lend itself to-- not to dialogue or action, but to real kind of interior moments where I'm in a character's mind and I want to replicate her thinking process."
"They were these huge, gray boxes. They were given to us - this must have been 1980-right around there, 1980 - At Lake Forest College, all the faculty got these KayPro computer things, and really all they did was word processing but I liked them."
"I like reading, you know, in a comfy chair and I feel like we're moving away from that now, that that's becoming less. You know, and I'm writing e-books myself now, so I'm a culprit, too."
"You know, what little experimenting I've done along those lines with poems, I've done on the computer screen. '"
"I've found this old encyclopedia up here from the '30s and I've been scanning the pages-especially pages that have a lot of graphic material in them. "
" I sense one of the things that's going on in this project is that I'm talking back to history in a way and saying, 'No, that's not right,' and I like that"
"I have lost things, yeah. Almost every week, I have little battle because I can't remember what I called something--"
"With that first book of poems, I've kept all the letters that he wrote to me about revision. I don't know, they just-- They're very dear to me that somebody took that kind of time with me."
"I try to be careful that I've always got a hard copy somewhere of the material that I'm working on."
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...
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"When it comes to use of physical and digital media, Nance Van Winckel's current writing process is highly compartamentalized. Her physical process is grounded in a daily afternoon walk around the park near her home. Once she comes to the page, starting out with longhand..."
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