Doctors and Discoveries,
More on RALPH's Poetry Reviews,
Learning to Fall,
Questions of Fellatio/Cunnilingus, and
The Peters World Atlas


In an otherwise merely philistine and broadly ignorant review of my Doctors and Discoveries: Lives That Created Today's Medicine, L. W. Milam alludes to the hero of Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith as he "picked up his fatal last cigarette."

Milam is misremembering the book. Arrowsmith lives through the end of the book, but his wife Leora contracts the plague from a cigarette and dies.

--- John G. Simmons

Go to the review in question

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If Gary Soto and Franz Werfel are the kinds of poets who"shake you to your roots" (did you coin that yourself?), good luck. You are simply expressing an opinion, in your moronic "established" list versus "real" poets list, most of whom are complete unknowns or somewhat known mediocrities who are no doubt friends of yours and not worthy to lick the bottoms of Louise Glück's shoes. Are you guys 21 yet?

Anyway, you clearly haven't even read my last collection The Beforelife. After you do, I want to hear you call those poems polite mood-pieces. Go ahead.

--- Franz Wright

Go to our previous correspondence concerning poetry and RALPH.

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Dear Lolita Lark,

I came across your wonderfully accurate and witty take on Jorie Graham while researching an article for my next "Boston Comment" column on Web del Sol (a series called "The Denaturing of Contemporary American Poetry").

Check it out if you get a chance. I think you'll find a similarity in viewpoint.

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your article. Thanks and Cheers,

--- Joan Houlihan, Editor

Go to the Jorie Graham review.

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I despise R. J. Risley's "review" of Richard Simmons' fine book, Learning to Fall. There's a difference between reviewing a book and using it to trumpet one's own melancholic spiritual conclusions.

And the grizzly Mr/Ms Risley's hope that Mr. Simmons will live long enough to "get it" as he/she presumably has? Pure arrogance.

As for Mr. Wellingon's review of The Compact Peters World Atlas, the man you twice call Mercantor, whose world projection Wellington defames, was named Mercator when I went to grade school in the forties. Have I lived too long, or is Wellington's mind failing faster than mine? Or does everything change with age, even names? Mistakes with proper nouns are a vise up with which I will not put.

And Dr. Patricia Hill's review of Going Down had one startling omission. As a woman and a doctor, she surely knows that going down, oral sex, describes more than fellatio. What happened to cunnilingus?

Shape up, RALPH, but stick around.

--- Barry Corbet

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