The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 275

Early Summer 2016

Our Favorite Wars
We've always been fond of novels, poems,
essays, articles and readings that
tell the scary truth of war.
Here are fifteen of our favorites from
recent issues of RALPH.

Red Cavalry
"The tireless wind, the clean wind of night, sings,
filled with ringing, gently rocking the soul.
Stars blaze in the dark like wedding rings;
they fall on Lyovka, get tangled in his hair and face
in his shaggy head."

Do No Harm
"I found neurosurgery's controlled and
altruistic violence deeply appealing.
It seemed to involve excitement and job security,
a combination of manual and mental skills,
and power and social status as well."

The Sonoran Desert
"You'd be crabby too
if you had to race to your locked car in
the middle of the summer and then once you get in,
frying yourself in the hot-box with plastic seat covers
that burn your bum as you race the engine,
trying to get the bloody air-conditioning to crank up."

The Abundance
"The worlds spiritual geniuses seem to
discover universally that the mind is a muddy river,
this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash cannot be damned . . .
trying to dam it is a waste of effort
that might lead to madness."

No Picnic on Mount Kenya
"A horrid creaking noise
rose not far from us.
It was repeated more and more shrill,
rising to a crescendo and
breaking up abruptly in a gargling cry
as though someone was being strangled."

Someone Is Watching
"I can think of few other books
that show the post-trauma nightmare
of violation as this one does."

An Unexpected Journey
"Being a disabled adult has given me
a perspective on life I wouldn't otherwise have had,
and this was especially useful while
working with adults who were truly, profoundly disabled
with spinal cord injuries."

Flying Blind
"Turn an objectionably crowded patch of forest
into what would serve as an all-night diner for bats.
Here's your fly-through Bugger King,
here's your McMosquito's."

Great Titles from the Past
"'By God!' said he. 'A Colt's dragoon!
Why you are no bigger than a corn nubbin!
What are you doing with that pistol?'
I said, 'It belonged to my father.
I intend to kill Tom Chaney with it
if the law fails to do so.'"

Great Reviews from the Past
The Naked and the Dead
"We are with them for so many pages
that we get to eat with, sleep with, march with,
fight with, and die with them.
And most of them, it turns out,
are sore losers, losers in this life,
losers in their previous lives as revealed in a series of flashbacks."

Taking Haiti
"In the land of sloth and vice
Where they never heard of ice
Where the donkeys and the women work all day
Where the land is full of ants
And the men don't wear their pants
It is here the soldier sings his evening lay."

Happy Baby
"I can be a reasonable person but I don't like being played with.
You cannot spend time with me and then
send some pathetic excuse to disappear.
Is that how you handle things? By running away?
It doesn't work like that little boy.
Answer your phone the next time I call."


Fiddling Around in
Handel's "Orlando"

Viols and Rackett
"This musical Jurassic Park is everywhere,
in performances and in recordings,
and the noisiest of the instruments, like the bombarde,
the schalmei, and the aptly named rackett,
are affectionately called "buzzies" by their many admirers."

"'He might recover.'
'Oh come off it! With both his frontal lobes smashed up
like that? He hasn't got a hope in hell. If we operate to
deal with the bleeding he might just survive but he'll be
left hopelessly disabled, without language and probably with
horrible personality change as well. If we don't operate he'll
die quickly and peacefully.'"

"In Santa Monica, California,
early every morning, a worker in a bulldozer
plows the previous day's trash into the beach. I saw it.
He turns the trash layer under as a farmer lashes fields with last year's leaves.
He finishes the top by spreading a layer of sand,
so the beach, rising on paper and Styrofoam,
looks clean."

Great Readings from the Past
Kicking Ducks
"'I don't give a hoot how it flies,' I said.
'I'm going to kick it on the ground.'
'A true sportsman,' mused Duncan, and told me
I could have one of his ducks for experimental purposes
the next day.'"

Bomber's Moon
"For God's sake no more bomber's moons,
No more young men going out to die too soon,
Old men sending young men out to kill.
If we don't stop them then they never will.
No more no more bomber's moons.
No more no more bomber's moons."

The Seven Commandments of Joe Louis
"Louis will start throwing bombs in the sixth round
and knock the Italian down twice
before a right-left combination
ends the fight.
Louis will touch a glove to Carnera's lower back
after the bell, and return to his corner
without celebration."


The Vivisection Mambo
has just been published in quality antique typeset style.
It consists of 125 poems of the new Neo-Realist School,
many appearing here for the first time.
In a starred review, Kirkus called it
A fine anthology of some of the best contemporary poetry around.

The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
was published over two years ago.
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 was listed by Kirkus as
"One of the Best Books of 2014."

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.

b. 1985 - d. 1989
Our predecessor magazine received
enthusiastic encomiums from media writers at
The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times,
The San Francisco Chronicle,
and on
National Public Radio --- among others.
You can now find links here to all thirteen riotous issues.

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

With your $25 subscription,
you help perpetuate honest,
noisy, pesky book reviews ---
plus ensure the survival of
this rare if odd online literary journal.
You will also receive
a free copy of our anthology,
the two-volume Best-of-Ralph
which, is, in the real world, they say, priceless.

T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Reviews, Poems & Essays
Suggestions for would-be contributors --- 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
Mho & Mho Works
A Dozen or so Books from Our Foundation's Publishing Arm
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
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Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
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