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Guy Wires
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When one reads the exquisite short title poem of GUY WIRES, the temptation, of course is to assign Elisavietta Ritchie the moniker of Spider Woman. And how wonderful and potent that the stuff of which she spins her web is love. This is a very serious poet, who weaves her poems with the tensile strength of spider silk, greater than the same weight of steel, and with much greater elasticity. Her poems make remarkable connections between her manic intelligence and the dear particulars of the world. Line by line, she pulls us forward into her creation, and we lie there, calm, mesmerized and grateful for the new take on the world she invariably wraps us in. There is a lot of talk these days of the "wise woman," something like Erda in Wagner's Ring Cycle, that makes a reader realize they are in the presence of a mind worth hearing. "Your dog knows./She's different when/the moon is full," she tells us. But the poems swing through the human passions of sex, politics, and other worldly appetites with the agility of a Peter Parker on a joyful romp through the canyons of Manhattan. She has thrown a pentagram web over her private world, organizing a lifetime of experience and joy into five architectural sections - one thinks of Frost's notion that the final poem in a book of poetry is the book's organization. AT THE EDGE salutes dissident poets she has known and supported in a long life of taking responsibility for her actions: "Yet, in this land/ a poem can... land you in jail," and, "I have told others 'write with your blood.'" In Sisterhood: Mothers of Prisoners, she commiserates with the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, "May we at least find/ uncertain solace in our sisterhood." This is a beautifully felt group of poems, told with beautiful simplicity and power: ​How can shapes and blots ​of lives steaming with pain ​and so much love be forgot. ​ ​ The poems in WEAVERS become an ars poetica for the poet, and often reflect on the great mystery of death. ​ ​In time I'll go blind ​so while the lunatic moon ​crowns from the sea ​must write fast ​snatch at stars - In part three, EXPLORATIONS, Ritchie alerts us to the fact that she is coloring outside the lines. The Thing about Drinking, for example treats us to multiple personalities "in a single bound," as it were. Some of these poems are simply a riot. After a long plodding trek to find a beach and finally have a swim, she is greeted with a signboard reading: BEWARE! RIPTIDES! RISKY! BOXJELLYFISH LETHAL! SHARKS! CROCODILES! The last two sections of GUY WIRES imagine other lives in the animal kingdom: FELLOWS; and, celebrate the moving force, love, pushing all of creation forward in the final section of the web titled CENTRAL. We leave them to you, no comment, to peruse at your pleasure, but only to say how proud and pleased we are to have been bitten by this exotic, startling, and powerful creature. What a poet!
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