R  A  L  P H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities

Volume XXXI, Number 4

Mid-Fall 2002

The Autobiography of Margaret Oliphant,
Lynda Barry and Colorful Monsters, and
The Dhammapada

After the Quake
"Did something happen to Frog? she asked.
He saved Tokyo from being destroyed
by an earthquake. All by himself.
That's nice,
the nurse said.
We don't need any more awful things
happening in Tokyo."

Yoga Mala
"Food? No veggies, because
by eating vegetables, 'diseases expand.'
So what can you put in your mouth?
Wheat. Milk. Ginger. Mung beans.
'Half-churned curds,' whatever that is.
And, gack, 'snake gourd.'"

Fire of the Five Hearts
"It's ostensibly a book about
caring for the violated child, but soon enough,
we realize that everyone here is violated ---
the children, the mothers, the fathers,
the social workers, the society.
It reminds me of the words
of one of my own psychotherapists:
we are all abused children."

Great Reviews of the Past
Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying
"Many of us have seen our disabled friends
fall apart under the opprobrium of a new body
that seems to offer only new dimensions of agony.
When someone tells us,
You're a much better person for it,
there's always a part of us that responds,
Sez who?"

Bashful Bladder Syndrome,
Hurricane Hunters, and
Steinbeck's Down to a Soundless Sea

Waiting for Lefty (To Shut Up)
Part I
"In Lefty's scheme of things,
the oil business is the sole determinant
of American attention
to any part of the universe,
thus explaining U.S. concern with
such likely pipeline sites as
Haiti, Kosovo, the moon,
the planet Mars, and next Afghanistan."
Part II

"Although I have long harbored
a sentimental attachment to the term left,
I think it is time to recognize
that Lefty and his ilk have robbed that term
of whatever value may have accrued to it
in the 20th or, more correctly,
the 19th century."

John Sparrow, Oxford Tutor
Part I

"I imagined him settling down at
his small desk, to the sibilant plea of red-hot
fire-brick in the All Soul's gas fire,
delighted to have a reason to write, blotting and canting,
sometimes doubling the stroke or the serif
so as to make its blot thicker, fashioning an aphorism
only to shoot it down later:
Whoever you have a clear view of
has a clear view of you.
Vidi est percipi."
Part II
"This reminded him
of an old Anglo-Saxon metaphor,
the Venerable Bede's, in which a sparrow (he thought)
flew into and out of a banqueting hall.
Thus the image of human life,
from darkness into darkness,
with only an intervening gaudy amid smoke and cold stones."

Consider the Poet
"who walks in a stony Field behind his plow
turning up old flints
adze-heads and the bones of ptarmigan,
who lives in terror of tea-leaves
ink-blots and mendicant feathers,
who spends his tears on jujubes
and on feastdays
pulls coins from dirty ears
to the applause of grassblades."

The Ladder
"the ladder is largely illiterate
and until recent times practiced
the ladder does not wear pockets
or nurse its young"

Great Poems of the Past
St. Peter Got Smashed
"Here's to this old digit named Peter
(As in Peter, Paul, John, Matthew
And Mary Magdalene, she Ms Thumb).
As you can see, I hold my digits
In reverence --- and he (or she)
I trust holds me in equal
(and loving)

Nanaprobe Tracers and


A complete list of all books reviewed in RALPH,
arranged by title, including author, subject, and publisher,
plus a listing of all readings, articles and poems
that have appeared since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

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T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
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