Letters from Max: a poet, a teacher, a friendship by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo


I just finished this: my first borrowed ebook from the public library, with many thanks to the library employee who called me on the telephone and cut through a bewildering number of options to click, click, click my way to success. (Oh, no, clicking on “Let’s Get Started” was not a good idea.)

Sarah Ruhl, as I’m sure you know but I’ll say it just the same, is a playwright and Max Ritvo was a poet who applied for, and gained, admission to her playwriting course. Max says that the course did not make a playwright of him, but it improved his poetry immensely.

Sarah and Max were fast friends who, when they were geographically apart, stayed together through correspondence. Correspondence and correspondence, in two senses of the word. They put together a book of their letters which is lightly narrated by Sarah.

I would love to quote some of the text, but how to choose? Just read it, or at the very least put it on your TBR list.

7 comments on “Letters from Max: a poet, a teacher, a friendship by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo”

  1. Every time I read something by or about Max Ritvo, my heart breaks. His voice was quieted far too soon. Thank you for sharing this Teri. Will definitely make it into my pile.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I had to look up Sarah Ruhl. I always learn something new in this space. I will put the book of letters on my TBR list. I learned Ruhl is working on a memoire about her struggle with Bell’s palsy (which was diagnosed in the maternity ward after she gave birth to twins in 2010). She has not recovered her smile. Her book should be out this year. She has more poetry and a play in the works too! Quite a woman.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Barbara, I don’t recall her mentioning the Bell’s palsy, but she did entertain Max with wisdom from the mouths of her babes, one of which was “Never insult a potato.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have Max’s book Four Reincarnations that is one of the most heartbreaking books of poetry I’ve read to date. Thanks for sharing this Teri – I was unaware.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A, this book put Four Reincarnations on my TBR list. I was unaware of Max before hearing about this book. This is how it goes…one good thing leads to another.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow- that is cool to know- I pulled his book off my shelf and the poem “Afternoon” hits home today. Glad we have Max’s voice, at least on the page.

        Liked by 1 person

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