About this poet

Terence Winch has published seven books of poems, most recentlyThis Way Out (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and Lit from Below (Salmon Poetry [Ireland], 2013). His honors include an American Book Award, the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Also a musician and songwriter, Winch has played traditional Irish music all his life.

Grace

Terence Winch
Didn’t know if he was a retard or a drunk. 
He would lurch around Gaelic Park 
during game days, grinning like an idiot,
dribbling onto his filthy cassock.  First time
I saw him it was a shock.   And then his
name, which had a funny sound to it:
Father McMenamin.  The drunk priest,
the embarrassment to the whole community.
Happily staggering onto the field, being gently
ushered off again, scolded as one would a
child: now, now, father, mustn’t go there.

The shame of it all.  An affliction from God.
The shepherd, the authority, the man of the cloth
as moron, bum, joke.  The meaner ones
would buy him drinks and make fun of him.
Give us your blessing, Father.  Forgive me
my sins, Father, and I’ll give you a glass.
McMenamin forgave them all,
wondering where he was. Somewhere
far from home it seemed, searching 
for grace in the darkness of the Bronx.

Reprinted from Boy Drinkers © 2007 by Terence Winch, by permission of Hanging Loose Press.

Reprinted from Boy Drinkers © 2007 by Terence Winch, by permission of Hanging Loose Press.

Terence Winch

Terence Winch has published seven books of poems, most recentlyThis Way Out (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and Lit from Below (Salmon Poetry [Ireland], 2013). His honors include an American Book Award, the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Also a musician and songwriter, Winch has played traditional Irish music all his life.

by this poet

poem

The Documents are weeping, fading,
fearing the worst.

They are the messages
that keep coming.
They are promises, dreams, hymns,
i.o.u.’s. Proclamations.
Declarations.

They are word-flags.
Language
security blankets.

You could wrap yourself
in their giant

poem

Q. How important is theory in this poem? It seems as though
it just starts, goes nowhere, tells us nothing we need to know.

A. The concern here is with necessity, not fact. The poem could tell
you everything you wanted to know, but doesn't.
Some poems begin in the rinse cycle