Elisavietta RitchieElisavietta Ritchie Feathers Page
Books Literary Activity Journalism Advice to Poets Poetry Biography Translations Clyde's Site

The Dolphin's Arc

Guy Wires

Price: $14.95
ISBN 978-0-9909257-2-9
104 pages
copyright©2015
Poets-Choice Publishing

GUY WIRES
is up on
Amazon
.

Guy Wires

Guy Wires

for a foreign writer, visiting

You sat yesterday on my balcony.
Untrimmed, the magnolia's leaves
wreathed your head, and a bee
examined your words as if visas.

I served you melons and wine,
you spoke of mangoes and palms,
a child throwing stones at a plane,
of pear-tree roots gripping a tomb.

You've flown across half the earth,
explored and lectured, praised, criticized
as instructed before you set forth.
We told our stories, kissed and cried.

Alone, still breathless this morning,
I note a spider skein the cat ignores
in the slant of sun, guyed from this worn
wrought-iron chair to your chair.

Review of GUY WIRES Washington Independent Review of Books July 2015 Exemplars:
Poetry Reviews by Grace Cavalieri
Guy Wires by Elisavietta Ritchie.
Poet's-Choice Publishing.
103 pages.

This is Ritchie's best book, I think, and she's written more than 20 of them. There's a surprising group of poems in the section EXPLORATIONS in the voice of Cecilia (whose notes were apparently found in an old shopping bag, unless it is a Ritchie trick) and they're terrific. Once Cecelia was a dancer with an "ermine muff" and we watch her decline into homelessness but not without ebullience. "Cecelia Writes A Letter To Her Heart" ends, "So I will dance till sunrise, jog up Everest — / keep up with me if you can. Please try."

Ritchie's title poem is about a foreign visitor, a writer. It begins, "You sat yesterday on my balcony…I served you melons and wine, / you spoke of mangoes and palms, / a child throwing stones at a plane…" She ends with the emptiness of the next day, "Alone, still breathless this morning,/ I note a spider skein the cat ignores/ in the slant of sun, guyed from this worn/ wrought-iron chair to your chair." This poem is emblematic for the book shows a life entertaining international writers and artists, sitting with each as if he/she is the only person of interest to the speaker.

Born to a Russian émigré father, several poems show enormous attention to that ethos. She has a poem about Mandelstam who suffered poverty, censorship, eventually prison and death during the reign of terror. She speaks of sisterhood with Russian dissident Anna Akhmatova; she has a prayer from Tatyana; and she muses on Solszenitzen's fate. These are powerful comments on the unjust plights of nonconformist poets and writers in many lands.

Also there's an arranged society that emerges covering the gamut from the wealthy and learned to the homeless. "On My Own" is a two-page poem about the daily endurance of a homeless man, subtitled "Water in the Coffeemaker Frozen," ends "But Monday a kindly old-timer forgot a crushed box of doughnuts/ with icing! In my sleeping bag, warm with both cats, I'll eat my/
fortuitous bounty, read my overdue books, if ink and fingers/thaw, write my own…So I am, I exist, alive."

World travel from Hong Kong to Morocco cuts through the poetry landscape projecting a person of the world but Ritchie shows a different set of investments. She sees every city or country as a challenge facing the writer to find the fusion of culture and what's traceable to convert to poetry. What informs her is causality and how it'll turn on the page. The book is well organized into five sections and it's a good thing because this is a comprehensive book covering the waterfront of a life well lived. We needed infrastructure to hold it captive.

Ritchie makes demands upon herself; she explores questions about animals; she reveals the system of checks and balances in love and relationship. She takes the mundane and makes it public art. This is a plentiful book filled with gratitude for the world. She comes from a different place than many new to the art. She's not market driven. She sees poetry as an acceptable use of force. She's done it all.


Cecelia Tackles the Avenue Again
Must extricate this coat, fragrant with camphor,
forty years old, bought at a thrift: gray herringbone,
finest wool, same button gone, same pocket holes.
Falls to my heels! I've…shrunk. No matter. It and I
worked then, will still…A bright orange scarf a flame…
Nobody else wearing coats in this wind. Pneumonia weather!
How noisy now these crowded streets where I'd meet
my lovers at street corners, corner cafes — those days, they paid.
These men today might have been my lovers then…
Now scruffy as curs…they shuffle and limp…Hair
grayed or gone, they've changed shades, or vanished…
Then one man holds the door of a new café
where I remember a tavern. So I smile, enter…
And he disappears.


GUY WIRES can be ordered from www.poets-choice.com and Amazon

Guy Wires Cover

and GUY WIRES is finally up on Amazon.

Guy Wires

May 13, 2015 - Press Release for Lisa's new book, Guy Wires

Uncasville, CT, May 13, 2015 -- Poets' Choice Publishing, www.Poets-Choice.com is honored to publish Elisavietta Ritchie's Guy Wires, the seventeenth collection of poetry in a long, and distinguished career. Poet, writer, editor, translator, journalist, photographer, her award-winning work is widely published in the United States and abroad.

Ritchie served as Washington Writers' Publishing House president for thirteen years, and continues as an editor. She has involved herself with writers in exile and immigration/emigration, translating poems from Russian, French, and Malay-Indonesian. Her own work has been translated into a dozen languages. Her 2013 chapbook, Feathers, Or, Love on the Wing is a collaboration with visual artists Megan Richard and Suzanne Shelden who designed the present collection. (sheldenstudios.com). David Owens and other composers have written contemporary classical music to her poems.

Ritchie's work is greatly admired by readers and critics alike: Former US Poet Laureate, Josephine Jacobsen described Ritchie's poetry as, "original, varied and exciting, growing steadily in scope and control. The core of her poems is vitality. Grim, joyous, exuberant or erotic, they have a strong and vivid life."

"Elisavietta Ritchie's poetry combines a Byzantine elegance with straight-forward plain style honesty," wrote William Packard, the late editor of New York Quarterly. "The extraordinary range of her interests: work, love, sensuality, and man's plight in a forlorn civilization—is reinforced by her exquisite regard for language and lively fascination with the possibilities of form."

Ritchie worked as a freelance writer-photographer for the New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor, and currently for The Bay Weekly. A poet-in-the schools for years, she continues to lead creative writing workshops for adults. She lives in Washington and Southern Maryland with her husband, writer/journalist Clyde Farnsworth. They traveled widely and lived in Europe, Canada and Australia.

The newly established Poets' Choice Publishing house works closely with the William Meredith Foundation to support the arts and continue the legacy of a great American spirit. Recent annual Meredith Awards for Poetry include poets David Fisher, Lyubomir Levchev, Andrew Oerke, and former US Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.

Elisavietta Ritchie
P.O. Box 298, Broomes Island, MD 20615
— contact Elisavietta Ritchie via email —