Poet, musician and Head of Publications, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian
Institution. Winch was born in New York; his mother was Bridie Flynn from Cahercrea, outside
Loughrea in County Galway. Winch's father, Paddy Winch, was the son of a German father and
an Irish mother, Margaret Guthrie from County Clare. His parents met in New York in the
1920s and married in 1930. His father played the tenor banjo and encouraged any interest by his
children in Irish culture.
Terence Winch was a performer and composer with Celtic Thunder, a traditional Irish group. He has published three albums with this band. The Light of Other Days (1989) won the INDIE award for best Celtic album, and his most recent recording is Hard New York Days (1995). Winch has published many books of poetry of which perhaps the best known is Irish Musicians/American Friends (1986). Irish Musicians was separately published some years before and is a wonderful and realistic poetry miscellany of friends of his father who were bohemian musicians of the Irish sub-culture in New York before WWII. In poems like "The Irish Riviera" Winch explores with gusto and subtlety the epic quality of such obscure figures. The special quality in this volume is a profound if flip-seeming humor and irreverence, which is partly inherited. Winch's father and his friends were as important to his art as a similar milieu was to James Joyce. Winch's later poetry becomes more complex and contemporary. He adopts at times a version of surrealism for a major style, a language both enticing and chilly but which preserves a native zest and provocation. His work combines insights into ancestral Irish culture and the popular culture of the last 30 years. Important volumes are The Great Indoors (1995) and Rooms (1992). Winch's imaginative arrangements are diverse; he can write arresting prose poems like those in Total Strangers (1981) and gritty fiction like Contenders (1989). The breath of his achievement, inside and outside the Irish-American community, can be suggested by the anthologies in which his work has been published. In another context, his standing in American literary culture is emphasized by the list of magazines in which individual poems have appeared: The Paris Review, The New Republic, The American Poetry Review, The Brooklyn Review and others.
Winch has done considerable radio and television work, including interviews with front- ranking Irish poets, and has been on "All things Considered," National Public Radio, for St. Patrick's Day (1986). He has received honors and awards, notably a Maryland State Arts Council grant in 1997 and NEA creative writing fellowship in 1992. His education was all in New York: an M.A. from Fordham University and a B.A. from Iona College.
Terence, Winch, Irish Musicians/American Friends (Minneapolis 1986).
_______, Contenders (Oregon, 1989).
_______, The Great Indoors (Oregon, 1995).
_______, The Light of Other Days (album with Green Linnet, 1989).
_______, From The Encyclopedia of the Irish in American, University of Notre Dame Press,