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News and pictures from 2017

December 2017

Open reading in which several of us will participate follows Grace Cavalieri's reading 6:30 Saturday, December 9th, at Evelyn's in Annapolis. Will be able to read a couple of poems from Harbingers and Babuska's Beads this Saturday in Annapolis as a couple of participants from my Saturday workshop at Jack Bay offered to drive me.

November 2017

Dear Elisavietta,

"You are the reason why I began to explore poetry and gain confidence in my fiction writing. It all started with Sorting Laundry. I graduated from the Creative Writing program at the University of Houston. I have always referenced your works as a source of encouragement, understanding, study, and inspiration during workshops. I can't believe I am sending you a message! I have been a visitor of your website, in fact, that is how I discovered you. Thank you... You truly are my favorite writer."—Catherine


October 2017

Calvert's Crack Literary Team of Ritchie and Farnsworth New books by each open a Bay Weekly conversation By Sandra Olivetti Martin. "Together, Elisavietta Ritchie and husband Clyde Farnsworth have written an encyclopedia of words, with more spilling out every day. Poet, storyist, translator and mentor Ritchie has just published her 22nd (or so) book, the poetry volume Harbingers. Retired New York Times foreign correspondent Farnsworth has just published his fourth, the father-and-son biography and autobiography Tangled Bylines."



[Harbingers, Poets' Choice Publishing, 2017]

October 2017

The BAY WEEKLY this month contains editor Sandra Martin's big interview with Clyde Farnsworth and Elisavietta Ritchie.

By Sandra Olivetti Martin

Everybody's got a book in them?

Maybe so. Certainly we've all got stories. But the difference between a story and a book is getting it done.

Many, many hours at a keyboard stand between most of us and that destination. That's after (actually, before and during, too) the spinning roulette wheel of all the stories that could be told stops on just one. Then you've got to figure out where that story starts. Then keep – and keep, and keep – writing it.

All the while, of course, you're worrying about who you can get to publish it.

Which all your potential readers dearly hope won't happen until you've hired a professional editor. No, a friend who did well in English class won't do. A real editor has to have not only specialized knowledge but also the stick-to-it-ness to stay glued to your manuscript despite the siren calls of the rest of life. (She has to know, for example, how the not only — but also conjunction really works.)

So the fact that any book ever gets published is a minor miracle.

In this issue, Bay Weekly looks into that miracle multiplied, in one of our authors' cases, like the bread and wine of the marriage at Cana.

That literary engine is Elisavietta Ritchie, celebrating the publication of her 22nd book.

Name sound familiar? Could be for lots of reasons as the poet, journalist, novelist and writer of short stories, translator and mentor has her hand in many literary pots.

One is Bay Weekly, where you've seen her stories over many years. Poems now and again, too, for Elisavietta bombards me with poems apropos many a subject and occasion. Just last week, she responded to a Bay Weekly Creature Feature with eight poems on spiders.

Maybe you know her as your teacher at Calvert Library, where her memoir and creative writing classes have encouraged many a story out of its keeper and into print. Many of those stories, too, have appeared in Bay Weekly, including many from our long-time contributor Sandy Anderson, lost, alas, to all of us this spring.

Maybe you know Elisavietta as collaborator, for many of her books of poetry feature the work of local artists, photographers and designers, for instance Megan Richard and Suzanne Shelden.

Or as the editor — at Washington Independent Writers — who might hold the key to your literary future?

In this issue you'll get to know her better and learn some of the secrets of her literary success.

High among the bodies longing to write books are journalists.

Elisavietta's husband Clyde Farnsworth, retired from the New York Times, proves that rule four times over. This week Bay Weekly features Farnsworth and his latest book, Tangled Bylines. It's the story of Clyde H., our Clyde, and Clyde A., his father, both foreign correspondents who together reported on history in the making during the second half of the 20th century. Read it for history told from a first-person-present human perspective by an erudite journalist who tells not only the story but also the story behind the story. Among the many stories Clyde has packed into his 300-page-book is the tangled personal story of a son and his absent — but oft reappearing — father.

Elisavietta and Clyde are the sorts of people youíd expect to write books, aren't they?

So we balance the scales with the everyday guy so inspired by a story — this one made up, by the way — that he put in the discipline to make it a book. You may know Thomas Michael from the aisles of Graul's Market Annapolis, where he's a manager. You'll meet another aspect of Michael — the writer angling for a movie contract — in Bob Melamud's profile of the author and his mystery novel Birdland Murders. Adding to the fun in these World Series days, our own Orioles' Minor League clubs and ballparks are the bloody settings of Birdland Murders.

Read, enjoy — and maybe give your own story a nudge toward the book it wants to be.

Sandra Martin
The Bay Weekly




September 2017

September 16th! A coming out party for HARBINGERS at the Bulgarian Embassy.


[Harbingers, Poets' Choice Publishing, 2017]


June 2017

September 16th! A coming out party for HARBINGERS at the Bulgarian Embassy.

June 2017

June 24th, 2017

Macomb Street

1960 to 2017. EPIC, end of an era, party at the family home on Macomb Street, Washington, D.C. New Chapter. New Challenges. Photos below taken by Nataliya Rostova.

End of an Era at Macomb Street

One last party

William Rivera & Elisavietta Ritchie will read at 7 pm, Thursday, 28 June, at Kensington Row Bookshop, 3786 Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Both have travelled widely and studied, lived and worked abroad, but both also are long active in literary circles in the Greater Washington Area. Their work appears in Innisfree, Gargoyle, Loch Raven, and many other publications throughout the world.

William Rivera lived many years in Mexico and France. etc.; and four collections: Noise (Broadkill River Press), Buried in the Mind's Backyard (Brickhouse), The Living Clock (Finishing Line), and his new CafÈ Select (Poet's Choice).

Elisavietta Ritchie, long a workshop leader and poet-in-the-schools, has lived in Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle and the Far East, as well as Washington and on the Patuxent. She has twenty books and chapbooks of poetry, with two of Stories & Half-Stories. Her latest titles from Poetsí Choice Publishers are Reflections: Poems on Paintings, A Poetís Gallery; and Babushka's Beads: A Geography of Genes, on her Russian ancestors. Her new collection, HARBINGERS, is in press, also with Poet's Choice.

Last Hurrah Party
For the "Ancestral Home"
June 24, 2017
4 to 8 PM
3207 Macomb St NW
Washington DC 20008

Elisavietta (Lisa) Ritchie and Clyde Farnsworth are turning over the legendary Macomb St House to a new family.

This house has been the venue for numerous literary salons, musicales, parties and less reputable activities for the last 58 years.

We want to celebrate in a 'last hurrah.'

Please come.

Only if convenient, bring a bottle of what you like to drink and nibblies to help the celebration.

Logistics: there is street parking. The house is about 3 long blocks from the Cleveland Park Metro. The walk is pleasant.


May 2017

From Fred Wolven of the Ann Arbor Review: "Much thanks for these wonderful and amazing poems. I will publish these 5 in AAR 18: You Missed two Young Bald Eagles, Expiration Dates, Endeavoring, Pushing Through the Night, Strange Nightly Visitors

As usual your poems are marvoulous examples of fantastic writing. You appear to be as busy with your many projects. I trust you have the time to welcome in and enjoy the unfolding spring and forthcoming summer days! Should you ever like to recommend another poet to send their work, I'd certainly appreciate. We already have poets from some 7 countries for the next issue with many of our continuing contributors yet to submit.

Harbingers! A new book emerging. Lisa Ritchie is working with Poets Choice Publishing and hopes to complete this new book in the coming months.

April 2017

Working with Shelden Studios to produce a Revised edition of Timbot, A Novella in Verse. We have posted the old version to this link. Very excited about the new edition taking place within the next couple of months.
Stay tuned.

click me

Recent acceptances from Topology journal; Ann Arbor Review; The Bay Weekly; Along the Shore anthology from Lost Tower Publications (which also took poems for several other anthologies edited by Harry Yang: Beyond the Hill, The Poetry of Flowers, Greek Fire, And The Tail Wagged On, Temptation).

Calvert Library in Prince Frederick has a special exhibit for Poetry, including my book, Guy Wires!

library display

March 23, 2017

Successful Book party on the birthday of Clyde H Farnsworth's father, Clyde A. Farnsworth, on Thursday, March 23, for both Clydes' TANGLED BYLINES and Elisavietta Ritchie's two books published in 2016, BABUSHKA'S BEADS: A GEOGRAPHY OF GENES and REFLECTIONS: POEMS ON PAINTING, A POET'S GALLERY. Also celebrated Cameron Ritchie's birthday, and her own many books.

book party

photo by Alexander Farnsworth

book party

photo by Alexander Farnsworth

book party

photo by Alexander Farnsworth

February 2017

BOOK PARTY! Clyde's Book Tangled Bylines arrives several weeks sooner than expected!everal weeks sooner than expected! Book party is on the birthday of Clyde's father, Thursday, March 23, 5pm onward, for both TANGLED BYLINES and my two published in 2016, BABUSHKA'S BEADS and REFLECTIONS: POEMS ON PAINTING, A POET'S GALLERY. Also celebrating Cameron's birthday, and her own many books.


Reflections, Paintings and Poems from a Poet's Gallery by Elisavietta Ritchie launched by Poets Choice Publishing and the William Meredith Foundation

lisa ritchie at the writers center

Read my news from 2016 by clicking on this link.

Read my news from 2015 by clicking on this link.

Read my news from 2014 by clicking on this link.




creative memoirs

Creative Writing — Creative Memoir

"Rewrite Your Life—Or Someone Else's"
Workshop at Prince Frederick Library

Wednesday, December 13, 2-4 pm

I know you are scattered, but perhaps you want the excuse to hide and write. So wherever far-flung spot you are, peruse, and with luck something here will jump-start your own writing. Just get it down, pencil on paper thence to brain, before you hit the computer to type it up! Bring about ten copies of up to 800 words (but have more in reserve in case we have time for more). Meanwhile wherever you are, stay hard at work creating, reworking, reading and with luck publishing! My missives to you all are getting longer and longer but I keep coming across interesting articles and poems to share. And events!

CLICK to...

...get inspired! December 2017

...get inspired! July 2017

...get inspired! June 2017

...get inspired! May 2017

...get inspired! April 2017


We are all supposed to be reading, at least dipping into, this year's One Maryland One Book title, All American Boys, and/or at least thinking and perhaps writing about our own experiences with and ideas regarding race relations in schools, workplaces and on the street. The situation in the book is right out of current news. I've emailed you a book review which gives a good sense of the book, and if you at least dip into the book, you quickly see it vividly presents the language of today's teenage boys and their conundrums.


Reflections, Paintings and Poems from a Poet's Gallery by Elisavietta Ritchie launched by Poets Choice Publishing and the William Meredith Foundation

The Twelve

I am showcasing some selections of my translations online.
This one, THE TWELVE, by Alexander Blok, has now been revitalized and is presented here as an online book, very closely rendered to it's original formatting.

The graphic above will lead you to my translations page, where THE TWELVE can be found.




I snap the geraniums in 400 ASP black-and-white
since that's in my camera. They catch sun from snow
piled outside. In my bay window they glow
what my mother might call rather a brazen scarlet.

Each single floret is tiny, fragile, but massed
in a greater sum, big as a fist,
they burn my palms with their light.
Even when petals shrivel, officially finished,

that pungent crimson stays bright.
Yet they print mere icicle gray.
One would suppose, seeing this glossy photo,
my geraniums pink, sappy lavender, white.

These leaves velvet green, must explain.
Recalling my mother's distaste
for what is passé, right before I shot
I clipped what foliage yellowed and dried.

My mother, whose birthday should be today,
insisted on positive attitudes. Oh, I can tell they
are red, she would assure me. Color is not
what matters here, but your composition.

Note interplays, variegated light against
curved shapes, indented, the pick-up-stix
grids of spaghetti twigs bearing blossoms or leaves
versus the thick main stems…You've let them grow

leggy, ungainly, dear, do cut them back...By the rotund
weight of the pots, one knows they are rusty brick.
The planes of ceiling and wall are white as the snow
on black branches outside. As for your voids–

I'm all too aware of the voids. And look! She'd point
to what I see only now, in the space of the pane:
Did you know you caught a cardinal in flight?
Male, you can tell by the crest. Very red.

[earlier versions ©1992 The Christian Science Monitor]





Elisavietta Ritchie
11450 Asbury Circle #320, Solomons, MD 20688