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That Special Place: New World Irish Stories

Publisher: Hanging Loose Press
Prose, 120 pages
paper, ISBN 1-931236-33-X $14.00

That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, a collection of non-fiction stories by Terence Winch about Irish music and the musicians who make it, was published by Hanging Loose Press in the spring of 2004.

Poet, fiction writer, and musician, Terence Patrick Winch is the author of thirteen books and chapbooks, most recently the poetry collections Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, Boy Drinkers, The Drift of Things, and The Great Indoors. His work has appeared in such publications as The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, Verse, The New Republic, and New American Writing, and in more than 30 anthologies, including four installments of Best American Poetry, Poetry 180, and The Oxford Book of American Poetry. He has won fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fund for Poetry, The DC Commission of the Arts & Humanities, and the Maryland State Arts Council. He is also the recipient of a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing. A native of the Bronx, he has lived in the Washington, D.C. area since the 1970s.

The son of Irish immigrants, Winch has also enjoyed a long parallel career as a performer and composer of traditional Irish music, primarily as a member of the group Celtic Thunder, with whom he recorded three albums, including a winner of the INDIE award. Named one of "The Top 100 Irish Americans" by Irish America magazine, Winch is the author of Irish Musicians/American Friends, a book of poems that won an American Book Award, and of the well-known song, "When New York Was Irish." In That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, he draws on his music life in the pubs and clubs to map a path through Irish America.

Praise for That Special Place: New World Irish Stories:

  • "A small but powerful collection of stories and lyrics.... The author's compassion for all his characters shines..., as well as his ability to observe and unthread the smallest nuance of human word, emotion, or behavior. Perhaps it's his musician's ability to tie the strings of life together without missing a beat. There's no shortage of humor or laughter here, either...." -- The Bloomsbury Review
  • Click here to read Earle Hitchner's review of That Special Place in the Irish Echo
  • " ... The narratives exploring Winch's many years of touring with Celtic Thunder focus on the wild, the profane, and the often simply crazy world of the itinerant performer and are often hilarious.... That Special Place is simultaneously steeped in familial and cultural memory, in a world that is both ancient and old-fashioned, and immersed in the vernacular of contemporary American literature. On the one hand, the narrator of these stories is the modest and reverent son carrying on a tradition while, on the other, he is the cool, anarchic, pill-popping hispter who plays music while holding tradition at arm's length. [That Special Place] represents an important contribution to our understanding of Irish America, and a vital contribution to Irish American writing." --- Review by Eamonn Wall, The Irish Literary Supplement, Spring 2005
  • "Many readers know the name Terence Winch as a member of the great Irish American band Celtic Thunder. What you may not know is that he is a multiple award-winning author of 11 books and chapbooks and has poetry included in over 20 anthologies. Here he offers a wonderfully personal, humorous, and poignant set of nearly 30 short stories about the Irish-American experience. In his image-rich storytelling, he vividly portrays two distinct worlds, painting a precise and irreverent portrait of his parents' experience as Irish immigrants in New York during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, as well as his own sordid and colorful tales of being a musician coming of age in the highly charged (and often whimsical) era of the 60s. As with any good writer, you can see the sights, taste the air, hear the sounds, and smell the atmosphere (no matter how smoky and boozy) in all his stories. A delightful read!" ---Dirty Linen magazine, June/July 2006
  • " 'One voice, one voice' is the shout when distracting sounds interrupt a party piece. And Terence Winch, master of poetry, prose, song and the button accordion, has a voice unique and memorable to which we do well to attend. It's a voice clean, clear, funny and austere, one that delivers both respect and irreverence with utterly convincing authority. Terry is as generous as his father was in giving things away. What he gives us in this book is a world -- two worlds in fact -- his parents' New York immigrant Irish life in the '30's, '40's, and '50's, and the bubbling, eventful confusion of growing up as an artist on the East Coast from the late '60's on. These worlds are joined at the heart by music. And we are as close (as they say in the old Irish poem) to 'the music of what happens' as we are likely to get." --- Charles Fanning
  • "In That Special Place, Terry Winch reminds us again that he is the voice of Irish America." --- George O'Brien, from the Introduction to the book

Praise for Terence Winch's Earlier Prose Works

Contenders (Story Line Press, 1989)

ISBN: 0-934257-23-X
Dimensions: 5 1/2 X 8 1/2
Cover: Paper
Pages: 152

  • Chosen by Washingtonian magazine as the BEST WASHINGTON BOOK YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF: "In his underappreciated 1989 story collection Contenders, Terence Winch---better known as a poet and musician (he was a member of the local Irish band Celtic Thunder)---encapsulates twenty- and thirtysomething DC life in the 1970s and '80s. The authentic details---Dupont Circle group houses, live music at the Childe Harold, riding Metro when it was new---bolster these wry, unsentimental tales about the push-me-pull-you of relationships." ---The Washingtonian, December 2003.
  • "Terence Winch's artlessly moving stories are DC classics."---Art & Artists
  • "Terence Winch's Contenders has the same swift currency and raffish intimacy, and all the bright invention of his poems." ---Roland Flint
  • "Street-wise short stories with an Irish lilt...[where] pubs, bars, and saloons are often places of wonder and illusion." ---The Washington Post
  • "A must read." ---Toby Thompson
  • "Terence Winch gives us back to ourselves through the spare and clean transparency of an unsentimental language." ---Andrei Codrescu

Total Strangers

(letterpress chapbook of six prose poems; published by Coffee House/Toothpaste Press, 1982; out of print)
  • "Terence Winch is an Irish-American version of Julio Cortazar. Both men use prose to poetic ends, both leave their readers gasping for breath at the moment of denouement. These little episodes are beautifully constructed." ---The American Book Collector, Nov.--Dec. 1983
  • To order books or recordings by Terence Winch, see the links on the CONTACT page.