and I give my breath to a small bird-shaped pipe

Max Ritvo died one year ago this month. A poet who went to Yale, and continued his work after in an MFA knowing that his life would be shortened by bone cancer, died on August 23rd last year. His poems are filled with direct and life-giving imagery, even this — Afternoon, which starts with the line “When was about to die / my body lit up / like when I leave my house / without my wallet”.

Here’s the rest:


The poem does what a lot of his work seems to — takes those unimaginable moments and connects them with those mundane shocks we experience every day. With lightness and beauty his work wanders through topics like god, death, loss and so on — and plugs them directly into everyday experience, the grand to the minute connected.


Talking of making one thing another — taking the alien and making it understandable — how about this translation. Warning, nudity:



As you know, I love a little ritual. And you don’t get more ritualised than the natural order of planting and tending of plants. I think it’s especially interesting when meaning is ascribed to things that may, in reality, not have required a spiritual aspect — but developed one over repetition, misinterpretation, and a will or their to be a connection. With this in mind, enjoy a little bit of ritual from Sharon Telfer over at Spelk.


Not a cruel song at all.


This is nothing to do with poetry, or is it?



You may have spotted these two lovely concrete poems in the Tweets this week. These jolly poems are from @brian_bilston and do the thing I bore you with about form and — hey, don’t drop off! It’s rude to fall asleep when I’m being boring.


This week’s song is Little Tiger by Tune-Yards which can be paired with Bitten By The Tailfly by Elbow for song that seems to have left the chainsaws plugged in.


Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. I would deliver this by hand if I could, but my shoes are wet and I cannot put up with the chorking. Anyway, you would hear me coming an it would ruin the surprise. Someone said that I should look for a grant to do these professionally, I showed them this cartoon. I’ve had some odd dreams recently. Etch To Their Own is known as ETTO for short, and has been getting shorter as the poems get longer it seems. This week, much like the other weeks, it was written in a rush by @CJEggett. Please tell your nearest mutual follower on twitter about this newsletter, and you will be visited by the spirit of well spent anniversaries on your next one.

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