Max Ritvo is twenty-five years old, and he recently published his first poem in The New Yorker. His poetry collection “Four Reincarnations” is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. But Ritvo’s great start as a poet is also his end; he is dying of Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that was diagnosed when he was a teen-ager. He doesn’t dwell on his illness, though, at least not when he’s writing poetry. Mary Harris, who hosts WNYC’s health podcast Only Human, spoke with Ritvo about poetry’s ability to wipe away self-pity and bring him into the present.
Max Ritvo passed away August 23, 2016. He was 25 years old.