Live on Tape from the Southbank

April 30, 2010

Well, I must say I think this here podcast is great. Mostly because our heroic producer, Colin Fraser, went through a lot of files featuring me mumbling aimlessly with a microphone around the Southbank Centre in London. He managed to weave interviews with our poet and literary friends together with an audio tour through the fabulous Poetry Library, plus great songs from Dear Winesburg and the legendary Bellowhead (feat. Lemn Sissay doing the Rime of the Anchient Mariner with awesome full kid’s chorus!) So, come along and get some Southbank poetry action in your good ears!


Ryan visits the Southbank Centre in London for a meeting of the Global Poetry System. He chats with GPS co-ordinator and folk musician Chris Kreinczes, librarian Chris McCabe, writer Dzifa Benson, radio co-ordinator Claire McDermott and Southbank participation producer Lucy Macnab. We’ve got music from folk outfit Dear Winesburg and an excerpt of the amazing Bellowhead’s folk opera version of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ featuring Lemn Sissay as the Mariner.

Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean. Twitter: @byleaveswelive & @anonpoetry. Mail:

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About Bellowhead

Bellowhead unleashed themselves on Oxford Festival in 2004, brought together by award-winning duo Spiers and Boden. Their plan was to gather a talented collective of disparate musicians into a group capable of playing many styles, idioms and textures from around the world – big band to soul; jazz funk to classical strings. They have since performed all over the world. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was a much-acclaimed co-production by the Southbank Centre and The Young Vic with original music written and performed by members of Bellowhead and a cast featuring 150 children from local primary schools. Southbank writer in residence Lemn Sissay plays the Mariner. We are very grateful to all concerned for permission to reproduce a snippet in this podcast.

About the Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre Situated on the south bank of the River Thames next to the popular BA London Eye, Southbank Centre is at the heart of an arts quarter stretching from the Royal National Theatre and National Film Theatre to Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Southbank Centre website

Poetry Chat – May 4

Want to talk poetry, need help finding an amazing book based on your tastes, or just fancy a little tour of the Scottish Poetry Library?


If anyone would like to have a sit-down in the Scottish Poetry Library with me – I have my regular office hours on Tuesday the 4th of May. I’ll be in the poetry library from 4 – 6 and will be available to talk about poems, poetry, the library, milk trombones, future events, workshops, your favourite books, great poems, The New Avengers and whatever happened to MC Hammer?

For your diary: I’ll be away June and July so this is last one for a while — come on down for a chat and biscuits!

Tim Turnbull, what a nice man.

April 26, 2010

I got the chance to interview one of my favourite poets, Mr. Tim Turnbull. I’m a huge fan of his poem, Succubus and, in fact, his entire “Stranded in Sub-Atomica” is utterly wonderful. Do check it out and please have a listen to our podcast with Tim. It features a rare track from his old punk band — The Dog Conspiracy! Warning: This Podcast is Loud! (Please subscribe – free – click on the link below).

Poetry’s answer to Clark Gable – Tim Turnbull – muses with our Ryan in Residence on performance poetry, comic books and the highlights of his previous career in music. As well as getting to hear some of Tim’s poetry, we have a world exclusive in having the pleasure to include the 1993 track “Family” from Tim’s former band The Dog Conspiracy. Thanks to Dave, Keith, Kelly, Kerry, Paul and Mick for permission to use this recording.

Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser. Twitter: @byleaveswelive & @anonpoetry. Mail:

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Ryan In Northwords Now

April 21, 2010

I love Northwords Now, I think it is a great poetry and prose magazine which has strong essays, reviews and, of course, quality new poetry and prose. Also, it is free! And due to this and super-wide distribution throughout Scotland, one of the only literary magazines I’ve ever seen being red on a bus!

So, it is lovely to have a new poem, “Going Up” published in the latest issue. It is double lovely to be in an issue with my good friend Nick Holdstock who has an tense story in there called “How to Bait a Hook“. It is a dark piece and very worth reading. There’s also an excerpt from “The Two Sides of The Pass” a poetic conversation in Gaelic and English between Maoilios Caimbeul and Mark O Goodwin plus an enlightening review of John Glenday’s endlessly good book “Grain”. You can download the whole issue as a .pdf here. Or pick it up at The Forest, The Scottish Poetry Library or numerous other places. Check the Northwords website for more information.

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If you are interested, I inteviewed Maoilios Cambeul, Mark Goodwin and John Glenday for the Scottish Poetry Library podcast. You can hear the podcasts below but please, if you can, subscribe. It is free and easy and the podcasts will go direct to your music listening machine! How nifty. Enjoy the interviews!

Sleat, Skye

John Glenday and Kim Edgar

John Glenday talks about and reads from his new collection Grain (Picador) and we hear Kim Edgar’s wonderful musical response to John’s poem ‘Nothing to Hold Onto’…

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Maoilios Caimbeul and Mark O. Goodwin

Maoilios Caimbeul (Myles Campbell) and Mark O. Goodwin chat to Ryan about their recent book, The Two Sides of the Pass (Two Ravens Press, 2009), a conversation in poems across two languages and the landscape of the Isle of Skye…

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Download My Albums for Free!

April 19, 2010

Sometimes I record poems and do strange sound experiments with more musical friends. Well, now you can download both my full-length albums for free or just listen to the tracks directly on my website. Artists I’ve worked with include, Ragland, W222 Radio, Dirk Markham, Dan Seizure, Mikel Krumins, Uncle Beasley and John Crave. Along with the albums, there are photos and some thoughts on making the records. So, put your headphones on and enjoy. Do let me know what you think.

Go to Ryan’s Audio Page!

Red Like Our Room Used to Feel & I Hate Myself, I’m a Genius, I Ruin Everything (I’m So Lonely) were both released by Forest Records.

Stanza – Round Two

April 15, 2010

Dennis O’Driscoll & Penelope Shuttle

In our second podcast from the vibrant StAnza 2010 festival we talk to two outstanding poets- Dennis O’Driscoll and Penelope Shuttle – who tell us about their experience of StAnza and poetry festivals, how poetry has reacted to the increased popularity of readings, Cornish ice-cream and what it’s like to publish a first collection.

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Piershill Library – Poetry Month!

April 9, 2010

From Wednesday the 14th of April, Piershill Library will be my poetic home away from home.

Starting with a Meet Ryan Session on Wednesday, I’ll be semi-based in Piershill hosting free poetic events and workshops! The month will also feature a display with my favourite poetry collection. You can come and meet your Reader in Residence and chat on Wednesday 14 April from 14.00. It should be a brilliant month so come along to any of the TOTALLY FREE events mentioned below or feel free to pop into the library and see what excellent poetry books are on offer!

Meet Your Reader in Residence

Wed. 14 April, 14.00 – 16.00

Ryan Van Winkle is Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries. He is also a working poet who’s work has appeared in Northwords Now, New Writing Scotland and The American Poetry Review.

Carry a Poem

Tue. 14 April – 14.00 – 16.00

Do you have a favourite poem? Do you love hearing poems read aloud? Come to our poems aloud session where we’ll be sharing the poems we carry with us, in our hearts and even in our pockets. Bring any poem you’d like to hear and share and we’ll read a few from our roving poetry collection.

Nothing But the Poem

Mon. 26 April – 18.30 – 20.00

Fancy a poetry chat? Nothing But The Poem is a relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems. Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle. * We read a poem * We discuss the poem * Only the poem we’ve read. * No Jargon * No experience needed * Nothing to fear * Nothing but the poem.


Wed. 28 April 15.45 – 16.45

A poetry afternoon for kids with writing games and activities!A poetry afternoon for kids with writing games and activities!

Poetry Month also features a unique poetry display of our favourite and most accessible collections.


Pow Podcast Pow!

April 8, 2010

Tom Pow

Award winning Scottish poet Tom Pow discusses his richly evocative Dying Villages project as well as his various other projects, including the recent Dear Alice: Narratives of Madness.

We get the opportunity to hear a few Scottish Chastushkas, too. Tom will be bringing the project to the Library from 22nd – 24th April during a unique residency, unpacking the suitcase of poems, stories, images and sounds he has gathered while exploring the dying villages of Europe, from Spain to Russia. He will also be presenting a range of artefacts from the Dying Villages Museum.

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April Showers April Golden Hour!

April showers bring…

April 21st, 2010
Forest Cafe, 3 Bristo Pl
Free! Free! Free! (byob)


Helen Mort – unbuckles her new poetry chap.

Misa Klimes – brings poems for ears.

Nik Cook – holds on and says things.


Endor – rousing streams of breezy, Celtic-tinged jangling.

The Sparrows – 3 girl eclectic folk band originally from Japan. They tote a variety of instruments including (but not limited to) violin, ukulele, cello, flute, keys, guitar, a deathmetal kazoo, and warbly bird voices. Likes cake and bad puns.

Freight Tray – a bouillabaisse of salty a capella vocals, spicy guitar action and wet synth.

Strap on your dancin’ wellies!

A Golden Review!

April 7, 2010

While we were on tour in the Highlands a reviewer from HIARTS came to see us. You can see what she said about us here. I particularly liked this line:

“A vibrant band of eight writers and musicians … provide the cultural equivalent of riding bareback on a wild horse.”

Hope this helps bring the punters in next time we roll north!