“We stayed for hours,” said the Baltimore girl, remembering long days of dipping for blue crabs with her father, back when the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. As a proud son of Crabtown, USA, I advise you do the same with this collection of poems. Do it when no one is around. Savor it like a sip of Nehi grape, wipe your thumb on the pages and go back to the beginning.
–Rafael Alvarez, author, Tales from the Holy Land
Baltimore Girls is a brief collection of poems that examines the poet’s early life in the 1960s and the culture in which she grew up. It is personal history — tales of a small group of young women who lived in the segregated city of my youth. The poems are mini-memoirs, snapshots of young women who had determined they were bound for greater things: “we were in a hurry to get out of town, out of state, through school, to a job…”
Although Viti tells us she “left as fast as she could,” her memories of people, places and her hometown culture remain vivid and sharp, filled with the manners and rituals of the era. She recounts a teen-age date as “a talisman of my life to come” because they spent the time talking “about the war, about Yeats…” This collection is significant for its realism, its honesty and its attention to detail. The poems are specific and descriptive, reminiscent of the lyric realism of James T. Farrell. This book establishes Viti as a poet of the memoir and local history. Her memories of time and place will resonate with many readers.
–Sam Cornish, Poet Laureate of Boston, Massachusetts, 2008-2014
Viti’s Baltimore poems are bred of deep listening and long looking from a place beyond reflex and lead us back into the topography of an earlier time. We see the ways the talismans we carry guard both our years to come and those already lived; the ways those we’ve loved are with us still in some universe where we all dance with abandon.
–Gina Maranto, University of Miami, Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
Viti poignantly captures the transformative moments of becoming a woman through a captivating array of memories. Using her hometown city of Baltimore as a backdrop, Viti’s strong narrative poems explore a range of experiences and emotions in nuanced language, finely detailed observations, and unique sensibility. These Baltimore girls know “how to pretty up,” but they are “in a hurry to get/Out of town, out of state.” So it is that the poems in this chapbook ask the reader to contemplate the effect of place and the desire to leave that place.
–David Cappella, Professor of English, Central Connecticut State University, author, Gobbo: A Solitaire’s Opera
Each poem surprises us— finds its way to a garden, a classroom, wooden roller coasters, crabbing, bars – some long-forgotten places where you danced to Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, “James Brown in an orange cape” – while the juke box blared. The past becomes the present in words that are fresh, engaging as Viti seeks and finds the beauty of recollection.
Dr. Sondra Melzer, Professor Emerita, Sacred Heart University, author, The Rhetoric of Rage: Women in Dorothy Parker