The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 256

Early Winter 2014

The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities
as of this month, twenty years old.
In commemoration of this anniversary,
we are turning this issue over to our readers.
Below you'll find classic readings,
reviews, articles and poems
that continue to attract an audience.
The number of hits these writings get
is not overwhelming by standards
of the internet, but to us, they represent
the continuing presence of our pages,
titles from long ago, along with curious readers:
those who return to visit
month after month,
year after year.
In the summer of 2002,
we published a review of a book by a
relatively unknown Canadian writer, Gaétan Soucy.
Over the years, his classic novel has continued
to receive roughly the same number of hits
that it did when we posted it so long ago.
The titles below offer many similar treasures, ---
books that may have fallen through the cracks, ---
long-forgotten jewels that will continue, once discovered,
to give pleasure to inquisitive readers.

Photography Books
It seems to us that books of photographs
are a natural for all the spaciousness online.
There is the space (and the time)
to write about them --- and
offer best examples of their worth.

We aren't much for bare breasts,
naked navels, groinish gambols --- at least online.
But on occasion, the question of lust does come up,
and we try to deal with it in an adult
if not adulterous fashion.
Here are ten from over the years
that caught our eye, and may give you a gasp.
Of mirth.

Art Books
What were the Art books
that came to us over the first few years.
And how did we handle them?
Did our magazine show as much flesh
as most of them did?

Terrific Books
After twenty years,
could we possibly come up with
the names of a dozen or so very best books
from back at the beginning? We can,
and we do it here.

It is said that a book with the picture
of a cuddly pet on its cover will outsell
all others two to one.
What's with all these grinning monkeys,
dandified pups, querulous cats,
mossy man-eating crocodiles,
all-embracing (and not-so-kissable) boas?

When we started out,
god was white and white-bearded on his throne, and
all was right with the world. Then we learned that
there were quite a few other gods crowded
together there at the divine table,
waiting to serve and be served.
These are the best we found.

The world is lousy with unpublished poets
who, like many of their peers,
are willing to shell out $5,000 - $10,000
to have thin volumes to stack under their beds.
How do our poetry-challenged editors survive the deluge
of would-be Eliots, over-stoned Beats, neo-Gothic Ginsbergs,
quasi-Romantic-Modernists? Who knows?
Here are ten of our favorites from over the years.

Since we are all half-mad already,
how did we react to the thousand
neo-Freudian psychotic new interventionist
family therapists beating down
our editorial door
driving us bonkers?

The Classics
Which Classics came to us
to review over the first few years?
Browning, Kafka, Wells, Jarry, Shakespeare,
Samuel Johnson, Flaubert, Ibsen, Chaucer.
Did we love them, hate them, evade them, or
treat them as they deserved to be treated?
Perhaps our stance was and is: if they are classic,
they will continue to be so
on into the coming centuries.

The Books of 1994 - 1995
What we did then,
what we find so hard to do now,
is to make quick, short, pithy, and user-friendly reviews.
In the Age of Internet, brevity seems to get lost somewhere.
Here, you'll rediscover it.

More Books of 1994 - 1995
What were the books that were
sent for review in the early editions of this magazine?
Were they good, bad, wonderful, dreadful?
Were we good, bad, wonderful, or dreadful?
Here are a few reviewers and reviews
from the first year of RALPH.

The newest art of filling up 300 - 400 pages with words
was discovered by radio interviewer Studs Terkel.
Could we ever match him in sheer logorrheic frenzy?
We tried, and here are ten of our favorites.

More Interviews
Having done that,
could we possibly come up with
another eight or ten page-fillers?
We could and did --- and here they are.

Internal Medicine
"Although he is over his head
in trying to manage her care,
he struggles to live up to the unwritten code of
his fellow residents --- not to show any sign of
weakness or vulnerability."

Singing Bronze
"The strike note is the bell's big bang,
a vivid sound that starts
at the moment the bell is struck and
disappears immediately to make room for
the resonance of the partial notes,
which fan out like ripples in water.
Strangely enough, the strike note cannot be found
in the vibration pattern of the bronze.
It is formed in the listener's brain,
and thus is a purely psychological phenomenon."

The Guilt of the Everyday Ho-Hum Reviewer
A Doctor's Arrogance
The Minotaur's Head
Women's Sexuality
The War of Attrition
An Epidemic of Rumors
Gun Metal Heart
The Rise of Superman

Grafton Tyler Brown

Metaphysical Odyssey into The Mexican Revolution
Francisco I. Madero and his Secret Book,
Spiritist Manual

Vowels to the Ukraine
"Before an emergency
joint session of Congress yesterday,
the president announced US plans to deploy
over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of
the Ukraine."

To Know the Revolution
"For all his brilliance
he could not see that even though
having fun is not the same as making a revolution,
many revolutions really did begin
playfully and with laughter."

"advice as to penetrate human
in the instructions for the controllers of state
avoid scientific phrases
for example directoritis acuta
defined disease by boy - zelensky."

Great Poems of the Past
His Father Rebukes Him Again
(And also Pleads a Little)
"Listen carefully. This is your father speaking. A simple man,
a rather grey man, and so on and so forth, but still your father. The only one
you have, and that's something your irony can't change."

The Vivisection Mambo
will be published next year.
It consists of 121 poems
from the newly discovered
Neo-Realist School,
many reviewed here
for the first time.

(Still Hot Off the Press)

The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
was published last year.
It contains 200 or so of what we believe
to be the best articles, readings, reviews and poems
from this magazine --- from our very first years to now.
If you subscribe to RALPH, you get a free copy of this anthology ---
which recently received the Kirkus star.


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

Help perpetuate honest, noisy, pesky book reviews.
With your $25 subscription, you get
a free copy of one or more of the titles from
Mho & Mho Works

T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.
15,000 - 20,000 Hits Daily
Over 100,000,000 Total Hits
1994 - 2014

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

       Visit Our Previous Issue        Visit Our Current Issue       Visit Our Upcoming issue