Poet Max Ritvo Dies of Cancer at 25

He chronicled illness in acclaimed work
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2016 6:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Fiercely talented poet Max Ritvo has died at the age of 25 from the cancer he chronicled in his work and was first diagnosed with when he was 16. Ritvo, who had Ewing's sarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer, went to Yale during the years he was in remission but it returned in his senior year, the New York Daily News reports. He still managed to finish his degree in 2013 and last year, he earned a master's from Columbia University. Ritvo married Victoria Jackson-Hanen, an English woman he first met during a summer program at Cambridge University in 2005, last year. His debut collection of poetry, Four Reincarnations, will be published later this year.

In a podcast interview earlier this month, Ritvo—who counseled other families affected by Ewing's sarcoma—told Dr. Drew Pinsky he was moving "away from sort of ebullient death poetry and fighting poetry and poetry of, sort of, the bloods and the squirmies and the guts, and more toward trying to figure out what death is, and what my place in the world is." "He said the day he stopped writing, that would be the end of it," his wife tells the New York Times."He was writing three days before he died." His mother says that at his wedding last year, the couple banned words like "inspirational." "He was about love and compassion, human and animal rights, and about writing and sharing himself with the world," she tells the AP. "He didn't want people to see him as an invalid." (Read more obituary stories.)

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