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

Number 164

Very Early Fall 2007

In our Index,
we give a star
to those books that
delight and charm us.
Here are our stars from
the first six months
of the year.

"It is hard
to get worked up about
the disappearance
of creatures that ---
as one writer said ---
sound like a room full of
chuckling old men."

Debussy: The Quiet Revolutionary
"Debussy wrote that
the music of Frederick Delius
was 'very sweet, very pale ---
music to soothe convalescents
in well-to-do neighborhoods.'"

The Book That Changed My Life
"The editors have,
by some divine fiat
we cannot comprehend,
decided that Joe Lieberman
of Connecticut and
John McCain of Arizona,
not to say Liz Smith of
the New York Post
are 'remarkable writers.'"

Thoreau's Laundry
"According to Dr. Jacques
Zere are two kind of woman.
Zee kind which divorce zee
'andicapped and zee kind which
marree zem."

True Grit
"Earlier tonight
I gave some thought to
stealing a kiss from you,
though you are very young,
and sick and unattractive to boot,
but now I am of a mind to
give you five or six good licks
with my belt."

Generals Die in Bed
"Some of our men walk to the lip
of the hole and shoot into
the huddled mass of Germans.
Clasped hands are held up
from out of the funnel-shaped grave.
The hands shake eloquently
asking for pity.
There is none."

The Ghost Map
"A good editor
would also have
slimmed down the title:
twenty words is just
too much for our antique
Dewey Decimal filing system.
At this rate the title
will constitute a whole book:
beginning on the cover,
running until page 300 or so."

Horse Latitudes
"Muldoon has won the Pulitzer Prize and
teaches at Princeton and
has encomiums aplenty from the
NYRB and the New York Times,
but I think most of his stuff
is pure jim-jammery or,
at best, simple

Great Reviews of the Past
Where Stuff Comes From
"Chairs were
not allowed to be used by
the conquered people
in the Roman Empire.
In depicting the diners as sitting,
Leonardo da Vinci upgrades
Jesus and his group,
who were too lowly for chairs;
they would have been
on the floor that night
just as on other nights."

Don DeLillo
Not that You Asked

Sleeping in Academia

Old Texas Towns

Snakes and Earrings

Great Articles from the Past
Samovars and Bedlam
"I think it would be lovely
if we served high tea
for patients and staff at 4 PM.
I've spoken with
the hospital administration
about getting a silver tea service,
but they thought it was
too much money.
But we can't serve high tea
in paper cups!
Any ideas?"

Blue-John and Bust-Head
"'This is the real article.
It is double-rectified bust-head
from Madison County,
aged in the keg.
A little spoonful would do you
a power of good.'
'I would not put a thief in my mouth
to steal my brains.'"

An Interlude in the War
"She pours the oil
over the raw wound.
It is soothing.
She wraps my feet
in makeshift bandages.
In between whiles
she tells me that
she has two sons
in the war."

The South Berkeley Branch Closes

"The bank manager will look
Up at me as the clerk shows
Her my signature
The bank guard will glare at me
I have been their customer
For over 25 years."

Riddle of Self-Worth
"By cannibal standards, I'm dinner for six.
My pet vulture has the disconcerting habit of staring
at the clock and then at me. In terms of sun,
I plan for a long Alaskan winter."

East Hampton Airport
"The plane was absolutely stuck ---
Speechless --- ecstatically still.
The headwinds were holding us in place in space.
We were flying, but not moving, visibility forever.
The ocean was down there waving.
The engine purred contentment.
I am flying, but not moving."


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


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