The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 170

Late Late Winter 2007 - 2008

In our Table of Contents,
we give Gold Stars to those books
that our editors or reviewers
deem especially worthy of attention.
Here are fifteen from
the last six months of 2007.

In A Prominent Bar in Secaucus
"'Envoi' calls up a whole slew
of memories for those of us who
still care for the traditional forms
of traditional poetry:
Go, slothful book. Just go.
Fifty years slopping around
the house in your sock-feet
Sucking up to a looking-glass
Rehearsing your face. Why
Don't you get a job?"

Teach the Free Man
"They can learn the rules
that even the dumbest cat
can pick up on in the pen:
he eats on our side
of the chow hall,
he showers at our spigot,
works out in our
little spot at the bars.
And they would learn
the saddest of mots:
You can't help a
lifer do life."

The Seventh Well
"Everything suddenly had meaning
and splendor and festive appearance.
I was not lying louse-ridden and
half-starved on stinking boards, no,
I had the sense of being bedded
on roses and magnolias."

Crazy for God
"When he was
living in Hollywood,
he'd go to Von's and
shoplift pork-chops
in order to survive.
Pork-chops! With his taste in exotic
French and Italian cuisine,
the least he could have done
would have been
to pocket some
arugula and caviar."

The Wisdom of Yoga
"The darkest cloud is that
one of them suffers from bulimia,
another is depressed, and another
has a pulled muscle in her leg
so she can no longer dance professionally.
No black juvenile delinquents,
no refugees from Rwanda,
no bag ladies from downtown Lenox
or AIDS babies here.
None of the messiness of what
you and I might think of
as the real world."

Great Reviews of the Past
The Crazed
"Its fame probably
has nothing to do with the story,
and certainly not with the writer's style ---
but, rather, the fact that
it's a rare and strange item:
a Chinese writer of the
Tiananmen Square generation
who can create a novel in English
about the New China."

The Gateway
Sex & Isolation
My Father Says Grace

New Titles that
We Just Couldn't
Make It Through.
Real Stinkers.

Fun Vacations in

What is RALPH

The 3rd Ave. El.
Subagh Singh

Vicious Attacks on Mexican Musicians
"One of the advantages of old age,
along with getting up six times a night,
is the astonishing inability to sleep,
no matter what pharmacopoeia is offered.
At night we will lie there for hours,
reflecting on the joys of our
few remaining golden years."

Great Articles of the Past
Warm Soft Flesh-Like Tortillas

"You could hardly
make it through the day
without this passionate love of
warm flesh rising up on you
like a fecund summer storm
to sweep you along with
the protein-rich smell of it.
Eating a hot, just-made tortilla
fresh from the hands of the tortilla lady
is something like that."

The Electrical Century
"The Glaswegian physicist William Thomson
famously remarked that in order to
turn electrical theory into reality,
electricity would have to become
a real, purchasable tangible object
so that we may perhaps
buy a microfarad or a
megafarad of electricity."

The Exodus
"What life can I hope for away from this oasis?
The life of an indigent bookkeeper in the capital,
coming back every evening after dusk
to a rented room in a back street,
with my teeth slowly falling out
and the landlady sniffing at the door?"

The Emily Dickinson Answering Machine
"Because I could not stop for Breath
Past Altitudes --- of Earth ---
Upon a reel of Tape I leave
Directions to my Hearth ---"

"Mon beau tzigane mon amant
Écoute les cloches qui sonnent
Nous nous aimions éperdument
Croyant n'être vus de personne
Mais nous étions bien mal cachés
Toutes les cloches à la ronde
Nous ont vus du haut des clochers
Et le disent à tout le monde."

(Gypsy tall dark my lover
Listen the churchbells sound
We loved each other and got lost
Not dreaming we'd be found
But we were badly covered up
Now every bell has spied
Our secret from its steepletop
And spilled it village wide...)

"No one
Would come to look into his eyes
Wide open in the cold air.
       The man lay dead there in the street
With a knife in his heart
And no one knew him at all."


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

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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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