Max Ritvo

  • Born: December 19, 1990
  • Died: August 23, 2016
  • Location: Los Angeles, California


Poet who wrote about his experience with cancer...

Max Ritvo, a poet who wrote about his experience with cancer, died Tuesday, August 23, 2016, according to The Associated Press. He was 25. For full obituary and coverage from, click here.

Condolence & Memory Journal

AS a polio survive, age twelve, I exchanged climbing trees with longboned legs for climbing visions: writing in staves of muxi in my hospital bed, then back out into the new world, changed as though irradiated by light. I lie with Max in the rain in the whie bed exultant at life.
Lynn Strongin
Pulitzer Prize in literature
age 78

Posted by Lynn Strpngin - Victoria, BC   January 22, 2017

To the family,
I send my sincerest condolences. The swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all.-Ecclesiastes 9:11

Posted by Mia - TX   October 26, 2016



Posted by Valenda Newell - Indianapolis, IN   October 22, 2016

I'm so sorry that I never had the opportunity of meeting you, Max. Our families have something in common. My sister, Carol, died of Ewings sarcoma when she was fifteen and I was thirteen. After diagnosis and treatment she lived for eight months. Perhaps you will meet and then join the troupe of angels that preceded you both. Bless you in your new adventure.

Posted by Grace Cafaro - Staten Island, NY   September 13, 2016

Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.

Posted by - GA   September 02, 2016

Ed & Riva,
So sorry to learn of your loss of Max. Your nurturance brought his gifts to the world. Molly and I send our love and heartfelt condolence.
Bill & Molly McMahon

Posted by A friend   September 01, 2016

Just read some of his great and moving poems on Boston Review's site. Didn't know his work. What a loss! I'll certainly get his book in the Fall.

Posted by Charles Cantrell - Madison, WI   August 31, 2016


Leave a message in Max's in peace you might be dead but you will never be forgetten ***lots of love

Posted by faith milk - south africa, WY - Significant Other   August 31, 2016

I am truly sorry for your loss. May the God of comfort, be with your family during this time. Remember that one day soon- death, sickness, all the things that plague us as mankind will be a thing of the past.

Posted by A friend   August 29, 2016


Posted by michelle plakas-kaiser - kaiserslautern, germany   August 29, 2016

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Max and extend my deepest sympathies to family and friends. He fought the fine fight, may the God of tender mercies comfort and strengthen you during this difficult time.

Posted by A friend   August 29, 2016

I am sorry for your loss. May prayer comfort you.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray constantly."

Posted by A friend   August 29, 2016

So very sorry for this great loss, may the strength that Max showed give you strength now during this difficult time. And may comfort and peace be with you all.

Posted by A H    August 29, 2016

Deepness is in the eye of the beholder and the ability to to get there is with wise thinkers. Putting it into words is altogether real. Understanding these people is a prevalage. My sincere condolence.

Posted by - IN   August 29, 2016

Riva and Edward,
We are so sorry and deeply saddened and will be thinking of you and your family.When Edward helped our son Henry with autism 15 years ago we were at the house for appointments and would frequently cross paths with Max at 10 years old. We remember him as being sweet and kind, caring and spiritual with an expressiveness of a person way beyond his years.
Rest in Peace Max.

Posted by Allan and Susan Marion - Beverly Hills, CA   August 29, 2016

Such an inspiring young man who put his experiences, feelings and thoughts on page for all of us to read. Poetry is the soul singing and he did just that. So sad he passed but happy for what he accomplished and helped so many people. My sincere condolence to his dear family. I look forward to the time when no one will say "I am sick".

Posted by A friend   August 29, 2016

So sorry Riva.. We knew Max from Karate class and we all loved his spirit ..The Risko Family

Posted by victora risko - los angeles, CA   August 28, 2016

On behalf of the board and staff of The Abraham Fund Initiatives we wish to express our deep condolences to Max's family and friends. Max was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Posted by The Abraham Fund Initiatives - New York, NY   August 28, 2016

I want to offer condolences to his wife and family. My daughter (Autumn Von Plinsky) and two of her friends and classmates also from Yale, illustrated one of his books, Alexander and the Moon, getting to know him in the process. They were touched by his stories and poetry, as was I. I am glad they had a chance to meet him and get to know him before he left this world. He had the rare gift of deep insight that he could then transform brilliantly to the written word. I am thankful he was able to gather the strength to share it. He is missed deeply.

Posted by Theresa Johnson VonPlinsky - Augusta, GA   August 28, 2016

An inspiration to all of us. Rest in peace.

Posted by Michelle Pulis - San Diego, CA   August 28, 2016


God Bless your family!!Rest in peace young man..

Posted by - Saucier, MS   August 28, 2016

As a writer, he penned his thoughts in such a way that others could identify with his experience. Certainly at a time like this, your family is in need of the "...thoughts of peace..." that God promises in Jeremiah. Please accept my sympathies for the loss of such a beautiful person.

Posted by A friend   August 28, 2016



Posted by Luvy - PA   August 28, 2016

Godspeed, and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

Posted by Harry Simpson - Buckeye, AZ   August 28, 2016


Please accept my Deepest Sympathies

Posted by Scott Chamberland - St.Agatha, ME   August 28, 2016

Very sorry to hear of Mr. Ritvo's passing on. You lived your life to the fullest possible, not many can say that. Your poetry will live on for generations. An inspiration for all who face cancer, true, but also loved alone as the art of a true poet. rest in peace.

Posted by Tim Donnell - Lake Placid, NY   August 28, 2016


God bless you and your loved ones, dear Max ~ Rest in peace (( ))

Posted by Jane Dowling - Waterbury, CT   August 28, 2016

"To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord!" My heartfelt condolences to his wife, and his family, and his friends in their hour of need. May the Lord continue to bless them and keep them and strengthen them is my heartfelt prayer.

Posted by Doris Olford - Houston, TX   August 28, 2016


What an inspiration! He was a courageous young man .He lived life to the very end. To his wife and family my heartfelt condolences.gone way to soon.He has his Angel wings now.God BLESS! Rest In Eternal Peace young man!

Posted by STEVE - Altamonte, FL   August 27, 2016

Your poems put in words what I could never express myself after fighting Ewings Sarcoma for 19 years now. Thank you.

Posted by James Walsh - Bristow, VA   August 27, 2016


Posted by Cynthia Carey - VA   August 27, 2016

Wow! What a courageous young man who knew that he had a very limited life, but yet pushed himself to the limits nevertheless. What an inspiration to all of us! Just another example of "only the good die young...."

Posted by stephen smith, m.d. - Manchester, NH   August 27, 2016

Dr. Ritvo, My heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this time of great loss.

Posted by Monica Your QTC transcriber    August 27, 2016

I am a fan who once read his poem. His soul and his body were amalgamated in his aching beautiful words. I want to bid a farewell to such an amazing soulful poet. MAX, Thank you for your poems, your inspirations.

A fan, jin kim

Posted by jin kim - evanston, IL   August 27, 2016

What a great gift you were and gave to all of us. Your bravery and legacy will last forever. m
May you rest in peace.

Posted by Linda Rubin - Los Angeles, CA   August 26, 2016

I so enjoyed Max as a student in the middle school-- . I write for many of us who are deeply saddened at his death. His exuberance in life is a gift he gave us frequently and with openhandedness.

Posted by Emily Feigenson - Los Angeles, CA   August 26, 2016

Dear Riva & Edward,
Such a sad news. His passing was so untimely.
A found memory: I remember vividly Max's sweet face at a roller skating b-day party as a kindergartner; he was kind, polite, energetic, funny & full of positive energy. He carried that through his young life.
My deepest condolences to you, Victoria & his family.

Posted by Taraneh Shabahang - Los Angeles, CA   August 26, 2016

I am so sorry for this great loss. I feel so privileged to have known Max for the past years. We had a special bond that i will cherish forever. May his memory be a blessing to all.

Posted by PAULA RUBIN - LOS ANGELES, CA   August 26, 2016

As a classmate of Max's who knew him only slightly, I was always struck by how palpably he elevated the tone of every conversation. His intellect was razor-sharp while remaining generous and warm, and his way of carrying himself during and after college was profoundly admirable. Even though I mostly watched his successes from afar, I will sincerely miss him. I feel very lucky to have known him at all. My heart is with those to whom his loss must be unimaginably painful.

Posted by Spencer Klavan - Los Angeles, CA   August 26, 2016

Such a unique and tender soul. So very sorry to hear.

Posted by Holly Hunnewell (Ganz) - Pasadena, CA   August 26, 2016

Just wanted to send love and solace. We'll always love you Max. You're unforgettable.

Posted by Mary Lyon - Los Angeles, CA   August 26, 2016

To remember Max is to honor his enthusiasm, compassion and hard work. I recall his early teen years when he would bounce into the Harvard-Westlake Library smiling, so excited about an idea, a program, just anything. It was a pleasure and and honor to have known him.

Posted by Carolyn Zucker - Los Angeles, CA   August 26, 2016

May the God of all comfort give you the strength and ability to endure the difficult days and weeks ahead. John 17:3

Posted by - GA   August 26, 2016

Max Ritvo planted his words in my body and they stay. Thanks, Max

Posted by David Ishaya Osu - Abuja   August 25, 2016

r.i.p will be missed :'(

Posted by Era Krasniqi - Rahovec   August 25, 2016

So sorry to hear of this. Max will be truly missed.

Posted by Ben Wilson - Houston, TX   August 25, 2016

I'm sorry too, for this great loss, so young, so prolific in his writing. I didn't know him but I will read his poems to catch a flavor. I am a blog writing friend of a fellow poet, Marrian Kent.

Posted by Jim Hovendick - Katy, TX   August 25, 2016

I heard Max reciting his poem on a podcast recently -- I think it was probably the New Yorker. When I got the email from B'nai Jeshrun that he had died I was stunned. His poetry moved me as no other poet has. Please accept the condolences of a stranger who has truly been inspired by your son and husband. My his memory be a blessing.

Posted by Suzanne Kaufman - NY   August 24, 2016

I AM SO VERY SORRY FOR THIS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY.I JUST WISH I HAD KNOWN MAX. (I am a friend of Jackson family in Toronto, Canada)

Posted by Eleanor Friedland - Toronto, ON   August 24, 2016

Very sorry for your loss and sad memories. We are told that at times such as these to " rejoice with those who rejoice; and weep with those who weep" Ro 12:15;

Posted by A friend   August 24, 2016

Family Album