The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 176

Early Late Summer 2008

Managua, Nicaragua
"Why did they leave out
Nicaragua's national anthem, as performed
by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians
(all from Brooklyn) which, along with
And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine
and Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
were the top hits of 1946?"

More Harm than Good
"Not long ago, after
I suffered from an 'atrial flutter,'
my coronary doctor recommended
a stress test. I regretfully declined,
told her just being in her office
was all the stress I could
possibly ever need."

Living Everyday Zen
"Joko Beck is elegant;
she is concise.
True nature is no nature, she says.
Our core beliefs make us slaves, she says.
Practice is austere, she says.
If we are living 'caught up in our fears,'
we are not living."

"One critic called it a
Moll Flanders on-the-road novel
but it's more interesting than
Defoe (or even Kerouac).
Bloom is a first-rate story-teller,
so good that you don't want her
to get on with it."

What I Was
"How can you
describe a peoples who
do not, as a matter of course,
have access to the
thought-set of the rest of us.
A recent Canadian study showed
that adolescents share many traits
of the certifiably mad."

Choosing to Love the World
"For a man
who vowed silence,
Merton certainly got talky, quickly.
He became a celebrity,
a spokesman for the more
mystical side of Christianity.
Visitors came to Gethsemani ---
Erich Fromm, Joan Baez,
Boris Pasternak, James Baldwin,
D. T. Suzuki."

Comfort: A Journey Through Grief
"There have been acres
of books written on
the death of a child,
uniformly heavy with sentiment,
groggy with cliché.
This is not
one of them."

Great Reviews of the Past
A Journey into the Essence of Sufi Teaching
"If it had been me,
I would have told Hamid
to stuff it ... early on.
But then again perhaps
that's why Feild now goes about the world
giving workshops on Sufism,
while I lie about and read books
(and bitch about them)
for a minuscule living."

The Nuremberg Legacy
Robert Pinsky's Gulf Music
500 Butterflies

Bonfire of the Vanities

Working in China

Cryptic Letters of the Month
Age and

Granny Wallon's Herb Wine
"The vats boiled daily
in suds of sugar,
revolving petals in throbbing water,
while the air, aromatic, steamy,
embalmed, distilled the hot dews and
flowery soups and ran the wine
down the dripping walls."

The Zeus and Hera in the Women's Prison
"One of the walkers,
pale and lean,
with a shock of dark hair
and a gap-toothed smile,
says to Lillian as they
mark off another mile,
'What are you walking for?'
Lillian says, 'I have to get
to Russia, to my daughter.'
The woman says airily,
'I am walking for
my spirit.'"

The Death of Thomas Merton
"He was never
a very practical man about things.
Barefoot and still damp,
he walked across the terrazzo floor
and they had these very tall fans,
and he reached for the fan
to turn it on."

Illness and Devotion
"We grew up without any other houses nearby.
A place that offered only birds, trees, a river and its fish.
There were unbridled horses in the scrub grass,
their backs covered with butterflies."

World Poetry
Great Poems of the Past
"His thighs are as fresh as seawater.
He looks only at me.
All the women come and dance, but he likes me best.
They all paint their cheeks with turmeric
And put on fine new skirts;
He cannot rest until he finds me."


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