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

Number 150

Late Mid-Summer 2006

How did we ever make it so far?
Where did we get our inspiration,
our inimical pith, our survivability?
What's that spot on your shoe?
If you have answers to these and
any other crucial existential questions,
or just want to say something about
RALPH's past, present, or future,
go here:

Twelve in Twelve
From each of our first twelve years,
our editors have picked a review,
reading, article, poem or letter
that they feel reveals
the whole enchilada.

Photographs by Nancy Crampton
Most Vampirish: Margaret Atwood
Most Merry: Stanley Kunitz
Most Hearty: Gabriel García Márquez, Harold Bloom (tie);
Most Arty: Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Sexton (tie)
Worst Teeth: Joseph Heller, Robert Penn Warren (tie)
Most Decadent: W. H. Auden

The Mercy Room
"Her passions are
German writers, any of the classicists,
along with Büchner, Hoffman, Kafka,
Remarque, Hesse, Heine:
The fir dreams of a palm tree
In distant eastern lands,
Silent, alone, in mourning
On burning rocks it stands."

A Passage to India
"Hope, politeness,
the blowing of a nose,
the squeak of a boot,
all produce boum.
Pathos, piety, courage ---
they exist,
but are identical,
and so is filth.
Everything exists,
nothing has value."

Nature-Friendly Garden
"We plant petunias
and get crab's eyes and
creeping bugleweed.
We dig a hole
to stuff in the lilies,
and what appears:
stinking camomile and
the ugly white bladder-flower."

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter
"Why does the story of a
faceless painter from a century-and-a-half ago,
told in a mere ninety pages,
have such power,
the power to turn one inside-out?
What kind of diabolical art is this?"

Great Reviews of the Past
The Condor and the Cows
"When they get bored with that,
they'll seek out other English-speakers and,
in general, remain as ignorant as possible
of the reality of what the hell is going on
in the heart of Columbia, Ecuador,
Peru, or Argentina.
Isherwood may be,
as he famously observed,
a camera --- but it's a camera
owned by the company store."

Alberto Manguel
D. H. Lawrence
Mark Haddon
Isla Dewar
Patrick Neate
The Black Dog
Keep Your God Waiting
Zane Grey
Beautiful Dreamer
Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin

In Memory of Hawks

Reynolds Price
Maori Nose to Forehead

Don't Kidney Now
Part I

"His office had several plastic roses
in plastic pots with plastic dust,
years-old copies of The American Legion magazine,
and on the wall a diploma which,
as best I could make out,
said that he had graduated with honors from
the Transylvania School of Medicine."
Part II
"Miles and miles from home,
and here I am with one of those
home-grown infections of which Americans
are getting to be so fond,
one that cannot be treated with any of the
old-school antibiotics like penicillin or ampicillin
or tetracycline."

Godbole's Song
"His thin voice rose,
and gave out one sound after another.
At times there seemed rhythm,
at times there was the illusion of a Western melody.
But the ear, baffled repeatedly,
soon lost any clue, and wandered
in a maze of noises, none harsh
or unpleasant, none intelligible.
It was the song of
an unknown bird."

Good and Evil
"Nothing can be performed in isolation.
All perform a good action,
when one is performed,
and when an evil action is performed,
all perform it...
When evil occurs, it
expresses the whole of the universe.
Similarly when good occurs."

Heaven: A Definition

"I hope that you will regard Heaven as just another
Bad argument, and carefully avoid Saint Peter
And his crafty, semiotic archangels. Make your way
To the back of Heaven's gates, the servant's entrance
Near the fiery chariot's metaphorical garage. Ask
That disdainful angel smoking a cigarette (the one
That looks like Beckett but isn't) to define Heaven."

Navigating the Dark
"Stepping small and laughing loudly through various
Uncertainties; flashlights as eyes, ears like animals.
Soon we are trying only to remember not to disappear
Altogether; everything is so absolutely, so darkly possible."

There Were No Doggie Bags at the Last Supper
"Judas complained
about the tip,
saying he didn't think it should be split
twelve ways,
since he only ordered
an appetizer.
John kept asking for more rolls,
and Thomas doubted the fish
was even fresh."


All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
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
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.

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


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