2005 Weldon Kees Award
Ryan Vine has localized many of the distances our lives traverse; his words lead us back to an unfaced reality. To Ward, the poet's persona hero, these to-ward directions bear both in- and out-ward, confronting himself with himself. Readers will find their ways in these arrivals.
These poems take us to a world unlike any other: a world of bonfires, kazoos, shortwave, and a tragi-comic character named Ward. Ryan Vine's work is lively, tough and wise, and Distant Engines marks the debut of an important poet.
Ryan Vine's poems are precisely expressed and precisely envisioned. His ear and eye are first rate. In addition, the poems are a pleasure to read, often a rarity these days. Distant Engines is a wonderful beginning. —Stephen Dobyns
The poems in Distant Engines are lean, direct, unsentimental, even gritty. We’re taken to the bars and ore docks, to the jetty, to a “Sunday night at Centerfolds,” out to Morgan Park and the steel mill, to an old downtown Duluth that’s more alive at midnight than it is at noon. We spend a hard night out with these poems, but by morning we feel we’ve learned something not just valuable but essential: Life is difficult; poetry is required. —Connie Wanek