The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 257

Mid-Winter 2014 - 2015

Best Poetry Books
When we presented the "best of" in
our Twenty Year Anniversary issue
we purposely left the best for the last:
the best poetry books to come down the line to us
over the past 20 years.

"Dr. Matsu Unkanni was
an evil Japanese horticulturist who had developed
a voracious, fast-growing plant and
was now air-lifting the seeds to the United States
as part of a plot to choke
the entire continent."

The Faulkes Chronicle
"If it's your body, you get along with it.
Even pain, she says --- if it's yours
you don't really argue with it.
Even if it makes you scream,
the pain is yours, and you understand it."

Hiroshima, Nagasaki
"The crew looked back to see
the giant pillar of purple fire
rising behind them. The copilot,
Captain Charles Albury, then turned and said to Beahan,
Well, Bea, that's a hundred thousand Japs
you just killed."

The Burning of the World
"A fourth soldier has had his whole head torn off.
He stays upright for a few moments,
like an enormous jar of tomato paste,
then keels over."

The Most Dangerous Book
"Something about Ulysses, Woolsey said,
left him "bothered, stirred and troubled."
Even now, some of the passages
moved him in unexpected ways.
Molly Bloom's final words ---
the novel's final words ---
stayed with him."

"Stay away from the honors and medals and
Pulitzers and Lannans and Bollingen and
Poets Laureate and Yale Youngers
and what S J Perelman called
those ladies with three-barreled names
one meets at the Authors' League, the PEN Club."

"The men dump their babies if they think
wives have been cheating on them.
If there are twins, they figure another man
has been sleeping with her,
so they toss one of children aside --- usually in the river.
They also buy and sell the wives,
but that evidently goes on all over New Guinea.
Better, in the good old days,
the Mumbanyo used to eat the missionaries.
They claimed that they tasted of 'old pig.'"

The Human Age
"Pets can be genetically engineered
with firefly or jellyfish protein
so they glow in the dark.
Already created: fluorescent green
cats, mice, fish,
monkeys and dogs."

How to Be an Intellectual
"The current student loan system
has an uncomfortable resonance with
colonial indenture, a form of slavery
that built this country three hundred years ago,
and was yet another myth that tainted our early platitudes ---
the myth of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'"

Great Reviews of the Past
Advanced Rut Hunting
"The fifteen authors represented here
rise at the ungodly hour of three A.M. or so,
go out into the snow-powdered fields, and
lie in a blind with shotgun and a thermos-full of firewater
just to catch two deer busy doing the beast with two backs."

The Hamburger Book
"A hard-boiled French detective,
Pierre Moutard, is called in,
slathering along with his lovely side-dish, Sesame Buns.
Everyone gets grilled, including the short-order cook.
Buns and Moutard have a flaming affair,
after which, someone douses them in brandy."

My Best Friend's Ghost

A Letter from the Dominican Republic

Flirty Chat Rooms

Russian History and Its Consequences
"He has advocated
forcibly retaking Alaska from the United States,
turning Kazakhstan into 'Russia's back yard,' and
provoking wars between the clans and the nations
of the former Soviet Union and
occupying what will remain when the wars are over."

The Aéropostale
"We savored the same weightless excitement
as in the heart of a well-prepared celebration.
And yet, even so, we were infinitely poor.
Some wind, some sand, some stars.
A meager style even for Trappist monks."

Great Readings from the Past
Dual Micturation in Dublin
What did each do at the door of egress?
Bloom set the candlestick on the floor.
Stephen put the hat on his head.
For what creature was the door
of egress a door of ingress?

For a cat.
What spectacle confronted them when they,
first the host, then the guest,
emerged silently, doubly dark, from obscurity
by a passage from the rear of the house
into the penumbra of the garden?

The heaventree of stars hung
with humid nightblue fruit.

WalMart Supercenter
"A couple tried to sell their six-month-old for twenty-five bucks
to buy meth in the Salinas Walmart parking lot. We who are in danger,
remember: mercy has a human heart. Mercy with her tender mitigations,
slow to anger and great in loving-kindness, with her blue employee's smock
emblazoned with How may I help you? Someone in this place have mercy on us."

Porto, Portare, Portavi, Portatus
"You & I, we carry the burden together
of the not-exactly-barren. We were fruitful and now un-,
and some days we are so old that the gray in your hair
gieams like treasure, and others we are so young I get carded
for beer at the Food Lion."

Great Poems of the Past
Green Green I Want You Green
"Over the circle of the well
the gypsy girl rocked.
Green the flesh, green the hair,
Her eyes of cold silver.
She floats above the water
on an icicle of the moon.
The night became as intimate
as the little plaza where
Drunken civil guards
are beating down the portals."

The Vivisection Mambo
is to be published early next year.
It consists of 121 poems
drawn from the newly-crowned
Neo-Realist School of poets,
many reviewed in this magazine
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 of this magazine ---
from our very first years to now.
Here you will find all necessary information
on ordering this two-volume set,
which recently received the rare and
highly regarded Kirkus star.


All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
including author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to all the readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

With your $25 subscription,
you help perpetuate honest,
noisy, pesky book reviews.
plus make possible the survival
if a rare if odd online literary journal.
You will also receive
a FREE copy of our anthology,
the two-volume BEST OF RALPH
which, elsewhere, commands 50 beans.

T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Reviews, Poems & Essays
Suggestions for would-be writers --- and payment schedule.
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
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
1995 - 2014

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

Visit Our Favorite Issue        Visit Our Previous Issue        Visit Our Current Issue