My story is a majestic narrative
that will force you to love me, people of our land.
I have been so long engaged in struggle and survival,
but now I am the author of my destiny.
My mythic history is now seen as the singular element
that breathes spirit and meaning into my extraordinary saga.
I have reclaimed my natural authority as the true center for the
great American narrative. Peopleheed my dramatic and dynamic voice!
I deliver the goods, but my goods are cultural, aesthetic, spiritual.
My task is to honor the multidimentionality of my unique American story.
I am practically an institution because my life today is full
of ecletic vitality and reverence for the wisdom and knowledge of the past.
No one can see into the future, but when I think of the past I remember
that my grandfather really rocked. My grandmothers died before I was born.
I believe that life infuses all sides of my story, including the inner life.
This makes me special. That’s what I claim.
My goal is to be a transformative force in all our lives.
The work is not simple or easy. The challenges are not for the timid.
This momentous aspiration requires patiences, passion, and dedication.
So much depends on your help. Do not put me on hold.
Terence Winch’s latest book, That Ship Has Sailed, was published in 2023 as part of the Pitt Poetry Series from the University of Pittsburgh Press. He is the author of eight earlier poetry collections. A Columbia Book Award and American Book Award winner, he has also written a young adult novel called Seeing-Eye Boy and two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place. His work has appeared in many journals and in more than 50 anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry, Poetry 180, and 6 editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of an NEA Poetry Fellowship and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors. The works featured here are from his forthcoming book of occasional love poems called It Is as If Desire, due in 2024 from Hanging Loose Press.