The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 249

Late Spring 2014

Twenty-One Beautiful Pages
Every month we try to produce
pages that are comely ... an elegant base
for the featured reviews, articles or poems.
Here are two dozen from over the years
that we feel to be vaut le voyage.

Chickens in the Road
"She does things you and I
would never dream of doing
like picking up and going off to West Virginia
and becoming a certified country people
and on top of that butchering some of her pets
for the dinner table."

This Place, These People
"There were arranged marriages.
This family with that family.
Kind of like biblical times.
She's worth three camels and two goats.
But with property involved."

Junkyard Planet
"It is estimated that
every car to be shredded will contain
$1.65 in loose change, dropped in the seats or
under the carpet. This works out to
about $20,000,000 in cash a year
just waiting to be recovered in the United States alone."

The Severed Head
"Our theory was that
since the taxpayers of the state are
paying for these executions,
a relatively expensive procedure,
it might be diverting to have
a true reality program, allowing us
to view the fruits of our
tax dollars at work."

On the Cancer Frontier
"Cancer represents a divine irony:
it causes death by cells that won't die
in individuals who wish they could be immortal.
And the toll of these dividing cells is impressive."

Men in Prison
"Go on, stop complaining.
You'll get out of here.
Me, I've spent my whole life
in this joint: thirty-four years.
Twelve more months to retirement.
I wouldn't give two pins for the life I've led,
you know. And what am I
worth now, tell me?"

Black Vodka
"One day, when Elisa and I
are long buried and have turned to dust,
I hope a robot boy will find
this document and correct my spelling mistakes
with his silver fingers."

Young Skins
"She's a sweet
old ruin of an alcoholic who
spends her days rationing gin on their
ancient, spring-pocked settee,
lost in TV and her dead."

The Guy Davenport Reader
"To read Davenport, at times one only
needs a sense of the droll, but, admittedly,
at others, one feels that it would help
to have a Doctorate from Harvard in Hermeneutics,
with an advanced degree in Epistemology
from the Sorbonne."

Poetry of the First World War
"Gassed last night and gassed the night before,
Going to get gassed tonight if we never get gassed anymore.
When we're gassed we're sick as we can be.
For Phosgene and Mustard Gas is much to much for me."

"I would have much preferred
a numbering system like Haydn's ---
Hoboken, our favorite city in New Jersey.
If Mozart's music could have found
a numbers man like Henrik Passaic, say.
Or Friedrick von Piscataway.
Maybe even Hans Parsippany.
Best of all: Helmut Hackensack."

Anaïs Nin
Diane Johnson
Julie Wu
Marge Piercy
Jean-Luc Hennig

Great Reviews of the Past
Edward Lear: Egyptian Sketches
"There once was a man from St. P.
Who got stung on the arm by a wasp.
  When asked if it hurt,
  He said that it didn't,
But he sure was glad it wasn't a hornet."

Scenes from La Cuenca de Los Angeles
"Much of the fun of Cuenca
comes from the bilingual puns,
mots that work for those of us
who have at least a smattering of
both Spanish de la calle
and workaday English."

The Wrath of God!

Edible Gelatin

Letters We Never Finished Reading
Forgive my indignation

Franz Kafka's Postcards
(From around the World)

"Here we are in Copenhagen,
staying with a nice gentleman
named Hans Christian Andersen.
He lives next door to another
nice gentleman named Søren Kierkegaard.
They take Rudolf and me to a park that's
wholly for children and dolls, called Tivoli."

A Boston Panic Attack
"In hindsight, this was not the best place
for my parents and me to stop.
The shade in which we sat was cast
not by trees or buildings but by
the New England Holocaust Memorial."

Richard Wagner
"When he died in 1883
he was a sort of monstrous combination of
Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, Hitler,
Einstein and Tolstoy, with overtones of both
Beelzebub and the Pope."

Parachute Poem
"We buried him that very day, just as he came
to us, in a uniform of soft brown
with an eagle embroidered on the sleeve,
its body made of careful gray stitches,
its eye a knot of gold. The motto
underneath had almost worn away."

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

(Still Hot Off the Press)

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on ordering this two-volume set,
which one critic called "magic."


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