The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 227

Mid-Summer 2012

In our General Index
we include an exploding golden star
to designate those books that our editors
feel are wonderful, artful, inspired ---
well worth the journey.
Here are thirteen from
the first six months of 2012
that we feel deserve your
especial attention and affection.

The Fish That Ate the Whale
"According to another legend,
the banana was the holy fruit from the East,
sustenance for the wise men of India,
the peels rotting in piles
beside the bodhi tree
where the Buddha attains enlightenment."

There But For The
"They are talking
in their own frog language,
about the weather,
and how difficult it is to have frog-spawn,
and what an interesting experience it is
to grow legs when you start off without any."

Old Havana
"It is a coffee-table come-on
to the island whose doors
will soon be open to plump
camera-toting American tourists.
At that moment all will be party to
what one critic has called
the city that is
The Great Golden Egg Laid by
the Goose of the Cold War."

Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?
"This is a gracious writer,
one who can take a fraught subject,
weave it into good, no-nonsense prose,
leaving it free of the tricks that
the cynics and the panderers
so often need to use."

Welcome to Paradise
"The on-the-road novel
of a half-century ago
has been transformed into
the flee novel of today:
fleeing poverty, fleeing
war, fleeing injustice ...
looking for nothing more than
a job and a place to
lay the head at night."

The Man on the Third Floor
"I was looking forward to a
pre-Stonewall story of love of two 'inverts'
(that was the operating phrase sixty years ago)
with discovery, disgust of family,
hard times between the lovers, and
a gradual reconciling with several
defying acts of courage and
bravery under fire."

Black Elephants
"We were no longer men and women.
The mask was our hide,
the filter, however short, our trunk.
We were black elephants
stripped of our humanity,
trapped like wild game."

The Long and Short of It
"It was the great, unsung
American etymological
philosophical genius,
Yogi Berra who said,
When you come to a
fork in the road, take it.

And: If the world were perfect,
it wouldn't be.

And: Nobody goes there anymore,
it's too crowded."

A Raisin in the Sun
"Child, when do you think
is the time to love somebody the most?
When they done good and
made things easy for everybody?
Well then, you ain't through learning ---
because that ain't the time at all."

Great Reviews of the Past
The Woman in the Row Behind
"All this made me wonder
if there wasn't
another possible career choice,
even at this point in life,
for a bellicose post-menopausal reviewer."

In late 2012, we will publish
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World,
a gorgeous hardback with more than
200 reviews, poems,
readings, and articles from
the first eighteen years of RALPH.
If you are interested, please click here:
and you will find more than enough information
about our latest escapade.

The Slave Trade

A Personal Letter from Timothy Geithner

Cryptic Letters of the Month
A Sound Lady

What Happened to the Social Democratic Moment?
"The word socialism
may continue to be,
if not exactly a curse,
then at least problematic,
until about 40 years after
these illustrious examples
have collapsed or changed,
whenever that may come to pass."

"It was the lord's idea,
he meant it as a test,
A test of what,
Of my faith and my obedience,
What kind of lord would
order a father to kill his own son?"

The Murderer
"Then, I went in and
shot the televisor,
that insidious beast,
that Medusa,
which freezes
a billion people to stone
every night,
staring fixedly,
that Siren which
called and sang and promised
so much and gave,
after all,
so little."

"They want us to take erection pills,
though our women have all passed
menopause, they want us to dye the gray
from our hair, they want us to go back
to high school. "

Great Poetry from the Past
"She's slim and seems distracted, the social worker
who visits my apartment, who wants to know
why my ten-year-old was alone New Year's Eve
when the cops came through the door."


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

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