Back to All Events

Max Ritvo Celebration presented by Green Apple Books & Music

We celebrate the life and poetry of Max Ritvo, whose first collection of poems is published by Milkweed Editions.

Read about Max's life at NPR.
http://www.npr.org/2016/08/27/491664516/max-ritvo-poet-who-chronicled-his-battle-with-cancer-dies-at-25

Praise for Four Reincarnations:

"Marked by intellectual bravado and verbal extravagance. . . .One of the most original and ambitious first books in my experience." —Louise Glück

“A Max Ritvo poem is: 
A map drawn by hand to show where the body is buried.
A card trick with words. . . ‘Don’t show me how you did it.’
Like reading the last sentence in a book first.
Dragging words across the page like a bow across a string.
A piece of candy covered with ants.
Like silverfish ate the words off a page . . . and left you a riddle.
All of the above."
—Tom Waits

About Four Reincarnations:

Reverent and profane, entertaining and bruising, Four Reincarnations is a debut collection of poems that introduces an exciting new voice in American letters. 

When Max Ritvo was diagnosed with cancer at age sixteen, he became the chief war correspondent for his body. The poems of Four Reincarnations are dispatches from chemotherapy beds and hospitals and the loneliest spaces in the home. They are relentlessly embodied, communicating pain, violence, and loss. And yet they are also erotically, electrically attuned to possibility and desire, to everything living / that won t come with me / into this sunny afternoon. Ritvo explores the prospect of death with singular sensitivity, but he is also a poet of life and of lovea cool-eyed assessor of mortality and a fervent champion for his body and its pleasures. 

Ritvo writes to his wife, ex-lovers, therapists, fathers, and one mother. He finds something to love and something to lose in everything: Listerine PocketPak breath strips, Indian mythology, wool hats. But in these poemsfrom the humans that animate him to the inanimate hospital machines that remind him of deathit's Ritvo's vulnerable, aching pitch of intimacy that establishes him as one of our finest young poets.