One Friday afternoon this past May, I received an email from Martha Collins. She asked me to consider a manuscript by a young poet named Max Ritvo. Jean Valentine had selected his work for a chapbook competition, Martha explained, and Lucie Brock-Broido had selected some of the poems in the manuscript for publication in the Boston Review. Martha added only that there was some urgency, as an illness had thrust this young man into what would become the final stage of his life.
I read the manuscript over the following weekend, and I was completely transfixed. It is not easy to describe Max Ritvo’s poetry adequately. Along with the intelligence, the music, the beautiful lines, there is a profoundly boundless energy at work. And yet this boundlessness confronts throughout a real, concrete grasp of the finite nature of life. I had never encountered such a rapprochement of ecstasy and pain, of beauty and dread. Put simply, reading Four Reincarnations for the first time, I had an overwhelming sense of awe and admiration—an initial sense that has only deepened.
I spoke with Max that following Monday. We hit it off immediately, and when he explained the circumstances around his cancer—the pain, the treatments, the dire outlook—I pledged to do everything possible to publish the book in time for him to hold it in his hands. And so we pressed forward on an accelerated schedule, determined to publish Four Reincarnations quickly, if also with the kind of attention and energy it so richly deserves.
We learned yesterday that Max Ritvo passed away on Tuesday, August 23. Life has not been the same here at Milkweed Editions since this news arrived. We mourn his passing, and all of us here at the press extend our most heartfelt condolences to Max’s family, to his wife Victoria, and to the many friends who have supported him over the years.
Max possessed the rarest kind of genius. Even more uncommon, his brilliance was accompanied by the most beautiful kind of humanity. Max did hold an advance reading copy of Four Reincarnations in his hands, and I know he was delighted. Soon we will publish the book, and I know his vision and artistry will endure.
We are pleased to announce that Chris Santiago is the winner of the 2016 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry. For his manuscript, Tula, chosen from nearly two hundred collections from poets across the Upper Midwest, Santiago will receive $10,000 as well as publication by Milkweed Editions.
Tagged Chris Santiago, Lindquist & Vennum 04/29/2016 Leave a comment
If you’ll be in Los Angeles for this year’s annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch our authors in action! Here’s an outline of when and where you can find us.
In addition to slinging books in booth 724/726, we’ll be hosting multiple author signings each day, in addition to celebrating (all weekend long!) the launch of our biggest anthology yet: Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century.
We receive thousands of submissions each year—from agents, writers, and other publishers—and yet we can only publish 15-20 new titles. These numbers are tough from the perspective of those who submit, to be sure, but so is responding thoughtfully in a timely manner. While the submission process is usually straightforward if not painless, the exceptions are often quite interesting.
Tagged Breck School, James DeVita, Louise Erdrich, The Silenced, The White Rose 09/10/2015 1 Comment
The JUNE NEWSLETTER featured:
— Notes from the Field | The latest news from our authors with world-changing reach: Deni Béchard, Shawn Lawrence Otto, and Gaia Vince
— 35 Years of Poetry, Thousands of Poems | Introducing our full Spring 2015 list: Melissa Kwasny, Sally Keith, Parneshia Jones, Eric Pankey, and Brian Laidlaw
— A SPECIAL DISCOUNT | Celebrate our 35th anniversary early!
— Get Behind the Desk | Meet our summer interns, see what they’re up to, and apply for the fall internship session!
Tagged Brian Laidlaw, Deni Béchard, Eric Pankey, Gaia Vince, Interns, Internship, Melissa Kwasny, Parneshia Jones, poetry, Sally Keith, Shawn Lawrence Otto 07/01/2015 1 Comment