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

Number 125

Mid-Winter 2004 - 2005

It was a dark night
towards the end of
the last century when a dozen or so
would-be wordsmiths
joined together to...


OF 2004

A listing of
the most subtle, funny, passionate,
or fascinating titles that have
come through our hands this year.


An additional listing
of 15 more that evoked
our interest, love, and affection.

A Dictionary of Troublesome Words
"During its early history,
English had to go underground,
into the world of country bumpkins,
along with studs, whores, actors, pimps,
ministers and other low-lifes. Only this
made it possible for the language
to survive the French invasion of 1066."

The Last Days of the Sofia
"Bitterman gets stuck
in the doldrums of the passive case,
cannot master the storms of dialogue,
abandons ship when it comes to personal revelation,
and sinks without a whit of humor.
Despite this, she does have
one good thing going for her."

Georgia O'Keeffe and New Mexico
"I suppose the
winter-in-New-Mexico philanthropists
were, even after their Drambuies,
a prudish lot who would only dare
to examine a lovely lady's ass if it
came from the brush of Renoir, Seurat,
Gauguin or O'Keeffe."

Great Reviews of the Past
Elegies on Death
"One doesn't want to be
sloppy sentimental;
one must avoid clichés.
At the same time,
one doesn't want to be
too dry nor too intellectual.
The tension between these
(sentiment on the one side,
discipline on the other)
has to be powerful."

Jim Crace
The Star of Algiers

Radio Book
Readings for
The People

"If a newspaper editorial says,
'Hopefully the actors' strike will end today,'
who exactly is doing the hoping?
The writer? The actors?
All right-minded people?"

"Briefly put,
in neither ... nor constructions,
the verb should always agree with the noun nearest it.
Thus, 'Neither De Niro nor his agent
were available for comment' should be
'was available for comment.'
Since the noun nearest the verb (agent) is singular,
so the verb should be singular."

"The problem is that
etymology doesn't always count for much
in English. If it did,
we would have to write,
'My stamina aren't what
they used to be' or
'I've just paid two insurance premia.'
For centuries we have been
adapting Latin words to fit the needs and patterns
of English."

Great Poems of the Past
On My First Son
"Rest in soft peace, and asked, say, 'Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.'
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much."

The Ballad of Hans and Jenny
"Hans and Jenny were dreamers,
and they were beautiful,
and their love divided itself like
two schoolboys dividing up their almonds.
To love Jenny was like
going around eating an apple in the rain.
It was being in the fields and
discovering that the cherries were ripening
like the dawn."

The Vivesection Mambo
"When she takes the sword, kisses the blade just so
And places it gently in my gut and slides it up:
I think on the lace she wears to the dance,
   And before her, breasts like great engines
   Pushing love around the ball, into all of us."


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

Help perpetuate honest, noisy, pesky book reviews.
With your $25 subscription, you get
a free copy of one or more of the titles from
Mho & Mho Works

T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.

Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176


Visit Our Previous Issue   Visit Our Current Issue    Visit Our Next Issue