The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 242

Mid-Fall 2013

Youthful Folly
Each year, we are sent
hundreds of novels to review.
Here are twelve that we wrote about
back in our salad days --- five years ago ---
ones that struck us as being
well worth the candle.

Living on Uganda Time
"He just had to put it together,
get it published,
hoping (I hope) that
by sheer beauty and art alone,
somehow the book gods will
pay attention to his favorite place
over there some 11,000 miles to the east,
there in the middle of nowhere."

Levels of Life
"At times it feels as if
life itself is the greatest loser,
the true bereaved party,
because it is no longer subjected
to that radiant
curiosity of hers."

Madame Bovary
"The silence was everywhere;
something sweet seemed
to rise from the trees;
she was aware of her heart,
that was beating again, and
the blood circling through her flesh
like river of milk."

Heading Out to Wonderful
"It's the same old same old, no?
Clytemnestra, Tantalus, and Agamemnon;
Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Mark Anthony;
Anna Karenina, Count Karenin, and Count Vronskyi ...
and so many people that you and I know."

Burying the Typewriter
"The child speaking early in the book
has no idea that there are secrets,
sometimes evil secrets, and
sometimes protective secrets whispering
in the souls of family and friends,
as sparrows nest and sing
in the magical eaves of her grandparents' house."

Upton Sinclair
"Even a bare recitation of the facts ---
114 books; 879,000 votes; ninety years; three wives ---
exhausts the reader, and the imagination.
This guy was larger than life"

Stealing Sugar from the Castle
"Bly, like Herbert Hoover, has bested his critics
by outliving them --- he's eighty-six now ---
but when we survey the more than 300 poems collected here
we are hard-pressed to find more than a couple
that we could hang on the refrigerator door."

Great Reviews of the Past
Monologue Of a Dog
"Of all the recipients of the Nobel Prize,
the one that would have you and me cutting out
paper dolls on the kitchen floor was
Egas Moniz of Portugal in 1949.
He perfected the lobotomy."

Another Great Review of the Past
(Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture)

Under the Skin
"To take a story-line like that,
and make it work,
and make us want to turn the page,
and not throw up,
is going to take some doing.
And author Michael Faber
has what it takes."


The Collyer Brothers
Barging a Message
(In Your Mailbox)

The Seal Hotel
"We arrive at our destination,
an old sea-side hotel.
It is is staffed entirely by seals.
An old, grey, bewhiskered seal is
at the reception desk,
and seals lurch about the place
carrying bags as porters,
drinks as waiters."

Great Articles of the Past
Animal Quackers
"I'm thinking that by mistake
they've sent me genetically engineered ducks.
At six weeks, these guys stand
almost twenty inches tall and
I figure by Guy Fawkes' Day
they'll be as tall as I am."

Dying, Death, Grief
"At a social event she and I
would normally have attended together,
an acquaintance came up and said to me, simply,
'There's someone missing.'
That felt correct, in both senses."

A Man and His Daughter
"When she's gone, she's gone.
She won't be coming back, and
you won't be seeing her.
Not at Christmas, not at Easter.
You'll never see your grandchildren,
at least not by her."

Two by the Late Jack McCarthy
Saltpetre and Robert Frost
"At the boys' school I attended
we all believed the legend
of saltpetre in the mashed potatoes.
The salt was said --- as when grease fires
flare in kitchens --- to deaden the unruly
flames of forbidden sexuality.
But if saltpetre was there truly,
it was notable for ineffectuality."

A Love Poem
"One time we were driving
somewhere together and she reflected,
'You know, if your first marriage
had worked out better, you
wouldn't have been available
for me. And vice versa.'
I thought what a classic she is,
the miles look good on her.
But both of us came as is,
with dented fenders, and random
detritus in the trunk, and I said,
'It's as if we both broke down
outside the some gas station
at the same time.'"

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to be the best articles, readings, reviews and poems
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on ordering this two-volume set
which one critic called "magic."


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Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
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The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
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Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176

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