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Babushka's Beads: New and Selected Poems

Ritchie, Elisavietta

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ISBN 10: 099092579X / ISBN 13: 9780990925798
Published by Poets Choice Publishing
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Babushka's Beads: New and Selected Poems

Publisher: Poets Choice Publishing


Book Condition:Fine

About this title


Elisavietta Ritchie is a woman who has really lived and this verbal rumination on her heritage, the

people she has loved, the family recipes for borscht or cherry vodka or bread

are filled with such exquisite, well-realized detail, a reader is drawn along with

the force of a rip tide on a summer afternoon at the beach. It’s all simply so interesting.

And her conversations with the past and recently dead intrigue us: “It

tolls for thee,” they remind us, and yes, we all do eventually get out alive according

to this wise woman when it comes our time to ponder the great mystery of death.

Russia’s nostalgia for its glorious past – its literature, art, dance, theatre could

not be extinguished in a century of Communist revisionism. This nostalgia seems

worked into the very DNA of the Russian soul right down to the present day as

the country seeks to take the world stage once again. At the root of this nostalgia

is the ghost of a genteel aristocracy which ended in the forest assassination

of the Czar’s family and the Russian diaspora after the world wars that

followed. As one of the world’s great cultures, it continues to shape history and

art and in this beautiful example, poetry.


What we have to learn from the poems of Lisa Ritchie is everything worth preserving

and protecting in life: Love, lovers, children, cousins, parents, home, shared

meals, the memory of those who shaped us, the courage that won freedom, pride in

self and country, an abiding attachment to the beloved dead reaching to us from the

other side of life. Here are poems that extol life, sing of its joy, despite the cruelty and

entropy that threaten at every turn. Lisa Ritchie is a person you would want to know,

whose poetry you have here, life seen through her bright, intelligent, compassionate

eyes, what poetry does at its best, give heart. An old proverb has it that “it is in the

shelter of each other that we live.” These poems give respite in a world too often in

need of such shelter.

About the Author:

Poet, writer, editor, translator, journalist, photographer, occasional mentor, Elisavietta Ritchie's work is widely published in the United States and abroad. Her early collection, Tightening the Circle Over Eel Country, won the Great Lakes Colleges' Association for First Books of Poetry in 1975-76, and several individual poems and stories have received awards. Long unofficially involved with writers and poets in exile and immigration/emigration, she has translated poems from Russian, French, Malay-Indonesian, and with the help of native speakers, from other languages. Her own work has been translated into a dozen languages. The United States Information Agency sponsored her readings and meetings with local poets and writers in Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, the Former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Russia, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. She has also lived, studied and worked in France, Cyprus, Lebanon, Malaysia, Canada and Australia. After her poetry manuscript Raking the Snow won a competition for the collaborative Washington Writers' Publishing House in 1982, she served for three years as president when the press published only poetry. When in 1999 WWPH held its premiere fiction competition and In Haste I Write You This Note: Stories & Half-Stories, was a winner, she served for a decade as co-president then president of the fiction division, until new winners were available to take over the Press, helping new generations bring their own manuscripts into print. Ritchie's poems have inspired several composers, notably David Owens, Jackson Berkey, David L. Brunner and Halim El-Dabh. The chapbook Feathers, Or, Love on the Wing is a collaboration with visual artists Megan Richard and Suzanne Shelden. She is a founder, with Myra Sklarew, of A Splendid Wake, an ongoing organization to honor over a century of now deceased poets who have lived and worked in the Greater Washington area. She continues to lead creative writing workshops for adults and children, sometimes serves as a mentor for other writers, and occasional poet-in-the-schools. In past years a free-lance writer and photographer for the New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor, now she photographs and writes articles for The Bay Weekly, which covers the Chesapeake Bay area. The house in Washington DC, shared with her husband, journalist, writer and amateur violinist Clyde H. Farnsworth, is a frequent gathering place for writers and musicians, and a second home for numerous young scholars of many nationalities. Ritchie and Farnsworth as often live, work and host writers, artists and musicians in an isolated old farm house beside the Patuxent River in Southern Maryland.

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