The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 223

Early Spring 2012

Sassy Letters
For some reason
RALPH seems to attract
an unusual number of testy emails.
We offer here two dozen or so
of our favorites from 1995
to the present.

Silence: John Cage
"Somebody asked Debussy
how he wrote music.
He said:
I take all the tones there are,
leave out the ones I don't want,
and use all the others."

That's Disgusting
"If you are worried about germs,
forget the toilet seat:
it is far cleaner than
public telephones,
lunchroom computers,
or your local ATM keypad."

Kentucky Derby
"A wedding where
the bride and groom
'live happily un-after.'
An Easter egg hunt where
'you hide from the eggs.'"

A History of My Body
"During the course of this novel
she gives out with opinions on
black holes, cats, the Fibonacci number,
glowing emanations from the body,
Proust, Buddhism, Indian cooking, and
morality in the Ramayana."

James Riely Gordon
"Then there's County Perdido
which actually did get lost
during the 'upheavals of 1840'
and my personal favorite,
Loving County, capital, Menton ---
the source of the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail
and I didn't make that one up either."

Awake in the World
"It is most helpful
to replace the term
enlightenment with intimacy and
the word realization with relationship."

Children in Reindeer Woods
"Good day, little chickens.
I am the spring-man.
I suppose I should vacuum, in here.
God's natural brush, storms,
never reach in here, do they?
Poor you. In your shitty beds."

"Toussaint must know
what he is doing ---
I made it through this one
without falling asleep once ---
but it's not necessarily
something to get worked up about."

Kurt Jose Ayau
Patrick McGuinness
Margaret Sanger
Luis J. Rodríguez
James D. Huston
Mark Bowden

Great Reviews of the Past
Patagonia: Land of the Giants
"Due to severe ozone depletion,
the sub-Antarctic sky
now rains down upon the island
the fire it was once seen to emanate.
It is now a showcase for
the world's densest concentration
of ozone-blind sheep."

Books on Disability

Stone Houses

Cryptic Letters of the Month
Angels and Laundry Trucks

Letters We Never Finished Reading
From Bad to Worse
in Libya

Great Articles from the Past
The Rooster in the Watch
All my wristwatches
are programmed by means of
mysterious buttons flanking the dial,
the use of which remains
an impenetrable secret."

The Starting Train
"The clock face
will slowly turn away,
full of despair, contempt, and boredom,
as one by one the iron pillars will start walking past,
bearing away the vault of the station
like blind atlantes."

"For the person who wants to die,
the horror is that
his demons refuse to die.
Madness would be an easier escape,
but he is not wired to go mad,
he is wired to bear his pain."

The World Is in Pencil
"It had to be a labor
of love. It must've
taken its author some
time, some shove.
I'll bet it felt good
In the hand---"

The Hindenburg
"would you mind terribly, my groundling,
      if I compared it to the Hindenburg (I mean,
   before it burned) --- that vulnerable, elephantine
   dream of transport, a fabric Titanic on an ocean
      of air? There: with binoculars, dear, you can
    just make me out, in a gondola window, wildly
        flapping both arms..."

Great Poems of the Past
Saturn Rings about the Alambra
"You gave me three days and two nights.
I slept next to you alongside a thousand
Thousand lilies-of-the-valley blowing;
There was a festive explosion of monsoons
And volcanoes tracing along my various fault-lines."


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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