Letters from Max - A Poet a Teacher a Friendship
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
A real professor and her student forge a friendship through correspondence as they discuss love, art, life, cancer, and death. In 2012, Sarah Ruhl was a distinguished author and playwright, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Max Ritvo, a student in her playwriting class at Yale University, was an exuberant, opinionated, and highly gifted poet. He was also in remission from pediatric cancer. Over the next four years—in which Ritvo’s illness returned and his health declined, even as his productivity bloomed—the two exchanged letters that spark with urgency, humor, and the desire for connection. Reincarnation, books, the afterlife as an Amtrak quiet car, good soup: in Ruhl and Ritvo’s exchanges, all ideas are fair, nourishing game, shared and debated in a spirit of generosity and love. “We’ll always know one another forever, however long ever is,” Ritvo writes. “And that’s all I want—is to know you forever.” Studded with poems and songs, Letters from Max is a deeply moving portrait of a friendship, and a shimmering exploration of love, art, mortality, and the afterlife.Praise for Letters from Max “An unusual, beautiful book about nothing less than the necessity of art in our lives. Two big-hearted, big-brained writers have allowed us to eavesdrop on their friendship: jokes and heartbreaks, admiration, hard work, tender work.” —Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway “Immediate comparisons will be made to Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Artist . . . this book is a nuanced look at the evolution of an incredible talent facing mortality and the mentor, never condescending, who recognizes his gift. Their infectious letters shine with a love of words and beauty.” —The Observer “Deeply moving, often heartbreaking. . . . A captivating celebration of life and love.” —Kirkus Reviews “Moving and erudite . . . devastating and lyrical . . . Ruhl draws a comparison between their correspondence and that between poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, and indeed, with the depth and intelligence displayed, one feels in the presence of literary titans.” —Publishers Weekly
Available since: 09/18/2018.