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In his atmospheric second collection, Ryan Van Winkle charts what is found when love is lost. A lyric voice that is both familiar and strangely different leads us through the shifting forests of memory and towards a grim acknowledgement of the need to get up, to be careful, to move.
The Good Dark includes poems from Van Winkle’s acclaimed one-on-one poetry performance Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel (Edinburgh Fringe 2012) and cements his reputation as one of the most evocative poets writing today.
Channelling Bob Dylan at his trippy, visionary best … hits home like a punch to the sternum.
Roger Cox, The Scotsman
Moves between stabbing pain, deep melancholy and cautious optimism, always with the same gentle touch.
Ross McIndoe, The Skinny
The Good Dark takes a kind of emotional failure as its point of departure … and makes from that first shortcoming something beautiful.
This is a sorrowful but cathartic collection. The Good Dark is painted with subtle hues of emotion that lead you, unprotesting and mesmerised, into the world within.
Donald Marshall, Scottish Writers’ Centre
Van Winkle’s universe is a dark one, aching with loss. In his hands, language is tense, and unstable and thrilling.
John Field, Poor Rude Lines
Poems about moving on but not forgetting the journey, about keeping eye contact with Nietzsche’s abyss when it gazes into you.
The Good Dark has to be the ultimate break-up collection, a kind of Lonely Planet guide to Heartbreak – a land with unexpected restorative qualities.
Jon Sayers, Magma
The Good Dark so brilliantly and so often haunts us with the things half-said and unresolved.
Andrew Wells, Glasgow Review of Books
The personal and the remembered, whether true or invented, lend vibrant intimacy to these poems.
Jennifer Williams, The Bottle Imp: BEST SCOTTISH BOOKS OF 2015
Van Winkle works with the language of love and lost till it is scarcely recoverable but which still nourishes the lover’s past and present. His range is remarkable: everything invokes everything else, the tactile calls in the intellectual, one poem calls in every other poem, mundane tasks call in whole physical and emotional worlds.
The Saltire Society: POETRY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2015
Ryan Van Winkle discusses The Good Dark with Colin Waters, Scottish Poetry Library Podcast
Cover design by Ben Anslow
Published 15 May 2015
Hits home like a punch to the sternum
Ryan Van Winkle was born in New Haven, Connecticut. His debut collection, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, was published by Salt in 2010. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review and Scotland on Sunday. He has performed the poetry/theatre show Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel at Battersea Arts Centre, London Literature Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2012. He lives in Edinburgh.
Author photograph: Chris Scott