I wish that were my title, but it actually belongs to a little book of poems by Rita Bottoms. I am often “under the influence” of Venice, so this book appealed to me. Turns out that Rita also has a larger-format book titled Riffs & Ecstasies: Venice, which includes many of the same poems, and they’re paired with photos and paintings by her husband Tom. If you want to see one, visit Rita’s Facebook page, which shows the arcade in front of Florian Caffe, the perspective inviting you past the Florian windows and signature tables down to the light flooding the Piazzetta.
Rita and I apparently share a love for some specific Venetian delights, such as the Drogheria Mascari, which she rhapsodizes about in one poem. She liberally sprinkles in Italian words here, listing the spices passersby might see in the window–a window I myself can never pass without pausing to admire the colorful view. We also both love mirrors. Rita mentions some of her favorite mirrors in Venice, and her husband features the mirror in the restaurant Al Peoceto Risorto in one of his paintings. (I’ve actually named my publishing imprint Ca’ Specchio, House of Mirrors, in recognition of the many mirrors in my house.)
Of course, one of my other favorite Venetian items shows up multiple times in Riffs & Ecstasies–the gondola. Both paintings and poems capture that black boat and its stripe-shirted master. Rita writes about leaving a piece of herself behind in the Grand Canal when she’s out on the water.
Rita reached out to me recently via email and shared her books with me. What a delight! If you need a Venice fix, check out her and her husband’s work.