The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 248

Mid-Spring 2014

Twelve Stars
Every month we give stars to new titles
that the editors feel are especially meritorious.
Here are twelve from the last few months
that were so blessed in our General Index.

The Antidote
"With these kinds of comments,
this reviewer was anticipating that
The Antidote would be
another page-turner and perhaps
even an all nighter."

Inside the Rainbow
Russian Children's Literature
1920 - 1935

"There is also a kangaroo
dressed like a Russian bear,
Little long-tailed Kangaroo
Has a baby sister too,
But the mother's keeping her
In a belly-bag of fur."

"Gold is worthless and yet it has us all.
We're trapped in the mystique of it,
as much as the Spaniards were when they came to the Americas,
as much as those laboring in the 'illegal' mines in Uganda,
Mali, South Africa, Ghana (often at risk of their lives) ...
or those panning for gold for fun
in the Russian River."

The Hungry Ear
"Things would have been different
if I hadn't let Bob climb on top of me
for ninety seconds in 1979.
It was raining lightly in the state park
and so we were alone. The charcoal fire
hissed as the first drops fell."

The United States of Paranoia
"COINTELPRO functioned as a conspiracy
to defeat subversive conspiracies
by convincing the alleged subversives
that they were being conspired against."

Proof of Heaven
"I disappeared from the world for a week.
I went to an otherworldly place
which I will try to describe to you.
But I know and I hope you realize
that these are only words.
And words cannot convey
the powerful experience I had."

A Long Way from Verona
"On one hand,
Jessica knows more than she should:
she memorizes poems by Rupert Brooke,
has fallen in love with him, and
knows enough Shakespeare to be bored silly.
She can also quote Shelley's Ozymandias
by heart."

All Men Are Brothers
"If he were to cut
the hair of an Indian,
he would lose his business.
Better for me to
learn to do it myself."

The Empty Chair
"You know about the Ouroboros, don't you?
The serpent that devours its own tail?
Right before you die, the sign of Death comes ---
your mouth forms a great O,
those droll doctors call it 'the O Sign.'
The mouth O-pens (and o-pines its last) and
your eyes begin to flutter as they do in REM sleep ---
RAM! sleep --- all roads lead to Rama,
don't you know ... that's what Gandhi said
when he was shot, said 'Rama'
in his final exhalation."

Great Reviews of the Past
A Practical Guide to Aging
"My dear old Mother,
recently laid in the grave at 96,
wouldn't be caught dead reading this one,
She didn't like reading about, thinking about,
worrying herself about the problems
that will be coming to us
down the line."

Abbott Awaits
"Then it will be time
to go inside to get some maple syrup
rubbed in his hair, at which point
he'll be busy clenching his jaw and reminding himself
over and over that stewardship is a privilege,
that he lives an enviable life, that by any
important measure he is a profoundly
fortunate man."

Getting Shortlisted

Civil Wars

Kinda Talking, Kinda Wanting

Letters We Never Finished Reading
Mind Your Transactions

Lady Di, This Is Burger King
"The Department of Civil Registry has
banned the following names for the newborn:
Burger King
James Bond
Lady Di
Batman and

Join the Navy
"I asked him what else
he'd done without telling me.
Was he married? (No. Whew.)
The navy recruiter called the next day
and I grilled him.
He almost made me feel
like it might be okay."

Telephone Birds
"Kissing you is like new paint and old pain. It is like
coffee and car alarms and a dim stairway
and a stain and it's like smoke.
I am looking into your eyes and
I can't get in."

The Monster
At the End of This Book

"We should be skeptical, yes,
of people who might be conspiring against us.
But we should also be skeptical ---
deeply, deeply skeptical ---
of our fearful, fallible selves."

Great Readings from the Past
Thomas Metzinger

"I often study neuropsychological syndromes,
people who have severe brain lesions,
or people who have gone mad,
and I analyse these states as a philosopher ---
but of course you also always try to understand
how it really feels like to be such a patient,
and if you really do that it hurts,
and it makes you become aware of the fact that any time ---
when you're walking across the street ---
some little thing might happen in your brain
to completely deprive you of your dignity
for the rest of your life, and turn you
into one big suffering confused mess."

The Bell from Europe
"It is good to know, now that the bell strikes noon.
In this day's sun, the hedges are Episcopalian
As noon is marked by the twelve iron beats.
The rector moves ruminantly among the gravestones,
As the sound of a dead Europe hangs in the streets."

"Well, says the coroner, which is your mother?
They all are, says the young man, let me
take them as a package. The coroner hesitates,
then agrees. Actually, it solved a lot of problems."

Song of Resignation
"I declare the President of the United States to be my father,
The Chairman of the Soviet Union to have my power of attorney,
The British Cabinet to be my family,
And Mao Tse-tung to be my grandmother."

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