The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 247

Early Spring 2014

The Oddest Books
You think this magazine is weird,
you should see some of the books
that land in our mailbox:
A Sky Filled with Zebras,
A History of The Vacuum Cleaner,
and our all-time favorite
from Harvard University Press ---
Alexander A. Potebnja's
Psycholinguistic Theory of Literature:
A Metacritical Inquiry.

Here we look at a dozen or so
that take the cake.

"The baritone sax was shot in the arm and
the trombone fell gravely wounded;
the group closed ranks and
although their circle was reduced,
kept on playing without missing a note and then,
when they began to reprise the measure
in which the bloody standard is raised,
the flute and tenor sax fell down dead."

A Sense Sublime
"DeKalb, Ill. is a podunk town
with 40,000 folks somewhere off there
to the left of Chicago ---
miserably cold in the winter,
hot and dusty and torpid in the summer."

"I am suggesting
that one can read this story
with enjoyment without being burdened
by the excessive commentary
offered by the editors here."

Poets Translate Poets
"If a real writer wants
real exposure for real literature,
he'll ship his poem or story off to
Harpers, The Atlantic, or The New Yorker ---
and immediately start praying.
If the divine doesn't kick in,
he'll send it off to
The Hudson Review,
The Virginia Quarterly Review,
The Sewanee Review

or one of their ilk
(and promptly get up off his knees.)"

Sex Is Forbidden
"I would like to learn
not to feel superior to everyone,
though I don't suppose I ever will.
Actually, I'm already thinking how superior I am,
wanting not to feel superior.
And how superior of me
to have recognized this paradox.
And to have admitted this stalemate."

"Turning back the clock can involve
'elective surgery, needles, cannulas,
drains, silicone bags, autologous fat transfers,
compression garments, scars, keloids, and
the unhappy knowledge that you let vanity
win a battle that can never be won.'"

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
"There, looming tall, in the garden next door,
Mrs McGunty of the faded robes and furry gray slippers
would find herself face-to-face, more or less,
with one or two Nubian giraffes,
nursing on her eucalyptus,
fresh lunch (free!) among the branches."

Great Reviews of the Past
The Chrysler Building
"Somehow those who own the city
have not yet decided to murder that funny
monument to the Moderne,
the Chrysler Building.
It went into bankruptcy a quarter century ago,
but the Trump and Zeckendorf and David Bevan types
(Bevan was the corporate director
responsible for ordering the trashing of Penn Station)
must have been too busy with other massacres,
obviously didn't have time to do it in."

Pushing the Limits
"The WTC was destroyed
by terror from without.
Pruitt-Igoe by terror from within.
What scarcely anyone has ever pointed out
is that the two monsters were designed by
the same architect/engineer, Minoru Yamasaki.."

My Bloody Life

Bob Poole & Poole's Paradise

The Tale of an Old Bay Fisherman

Offer to Buy RALPH!!!

My Bloody Life
"Without a family,
abroad on the streets of the city,
there is little else he can do other than run with the gangs.
We watch, with despair, as he goes from
being a fairly good student in public school to
a violent gang-banger, too terrified
to step out of the path he's on."

Why Is Beethoven So Different?
"It is as if Haydn & Co.
anticipated exactly what
the broadcast industry, and
the purveyors of background music
for elevators and telephone waiting,
would require two centuries later."

The Deserter
"After Arcenel had been blindfolded,
he did not see the men he knew
raise their rifles as
they stepped forward with the left foot,
did not see the adjutant raise his saber,
he just heard four brief orders shouted,
the fourth being Fire."

In Siberia
"'It's typical of my generation,' Natasha quipped,
'to be leaving things to God! That's Orthodoxy for you.
For centuries it's inculcated obedience, always obedience.
We're always on our knees. 'Forgive me, forgive me!' we cry."

"Gettysburg has since been turned into a Theme Park
and Civil War fans come to visit dressed up in
'Yankee' and 'Rebel' uniforms.
Using genuine modern antique bayonets,
muskets, and cannon balls,
they battle it out with each other.
Afterwards, they sicken with
cholera, gangrene, and the pox,
and die like flies."

Pity the Lady
"She mentions 'What a pleasant afternoon'
And drops her spoon.
But O there are moths in the mind
And you, without them
Are remote and lovely in your knowing
Nothing about them."

Obituary to a Parrot
"Boris is dead. The fatalist parrot
No longer screams warnings to Avenue A.
He died last week on a rainy day.
He is sadly missed. His spirit was rare."

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