The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 277

Late Summer 2016

Astonishing Letters from the Past
The odd letters that turn up in our email box:
We love them. Sometimes we think that
we've been placed here just to be a
repository of all that's bonkers in the world.
You could help sort through this frenzy of words,
the clashing of words . . . jungly thoughts,
specious nonsense.

"Once she and her ex-boyfriend
appeared at the South London Gallery and
dissected their relationship in salacious
detail before a transfixed audience,
seeing her
intense emotions and intimate experiences as
source material for her art."

Tiger Milk
"I dreamed about you,
I dream that you captured some kind of mythical beast.
It was see-through with two heads.
It was like a cross between a dragon and a kangaroo
but it lived in the water and could purr like a cat."

A Cultural Analysis of the Anus
"The author seems to be straining
to separate the subject of this book,
nicely represented on the cover by a large asterisk,
from anything that will limit it,
such as being designated as
solely the area for gay pleasure."

Arthur & George
"Oh the injustice.
We readers are steaming.
They can't put away this shy, self-effacing
innocent character, can they?
What's wrong with the police."

The Walls of Delhi
"Whoever wants to be Mohandas,
let him be Mohandas.
I am not Mohandas. I never did a BA.
Didn't come out on top of my class. Never was
fit for work. Just want to live in peace.
Leave me be, no more beatings.
If you want something, take it."

All the Gold Hurts My Mouth
"What you meant - - - when you mentioned
the decline of women - - - was
that empires nearing
the brink of collapse
make stars out of women's eyes,
turn their bodies into metaphor "

All Is Not Forgotten
"I was disgusted by him in that moment.
And yet I still persisted in my plan to protect him at all cost.
At very dear cost. I could feel self-loathing
creep into my bones. And l could not bear to think about
the effort it would require to forgive myself one day.
So I did not."

Great Reviews from the Past
Ugly Bugs
"The thought that these guys
are living just outside your back door
is noxious, if not nerve-wracking;
may drive you to drop gardening,
take up tatting."

Of Two Minds
"Freud's theories were like a flashlight in a candle factory.
He offered models of the mind, elaborate theories, specific explanations
(for psychosis, hysteria, even jokes), and a specific technique.
The competitors had an optimistic theology and some homespun remedies.
Freud's ideas decisively won for the psychiatrists
the battle for jurisdiction over ordinary human unhappiness."

An American Summer
"However, after dozens of pages of this, we begin to wonder
about the author's couth as well as his prurient interests.
In addition, we have to wonder about the time and trouble
he spent researching this stinker."

Catherine Gildiner's
Coming Ashore
Hitler, Mussolini and Me

The Men With Broken Faces

The Best Dictionary
The Word "Callipygian"

Old & Hoary
"You always know you are getting
old and hoary when the graduate students start
sending you long requests for information about
something you did back there
in the Dark Ages."

"The sonographer had not been able to see
the profile of the foot, no matter what angle
she came at it from, and that is
what happens when you have a Clubfoot.
My husband and I looked at each other in
dumb, grim shock. Clubfoot?"

"I didn't know until after the eggs hatched that
all packages are X-rayed at the border,
so those of my chickens that
finally wobbled out of their shells
sported two heads and a few too many legs,
among other oddities."

Great Readings from the Past
A Present for Sister Angelica
"I tell her I get to her neighborhood
every now and then, and that I'd like to have a chance
to travel over to the jail with her,
see how she's doing, maybe lend a hand.
And - - - just like that - - - she gives me
a shy and motherly hug."

An Appeal for Saddam Hussein
"After a suitable trial by Hussein's peers,
we suggested that the government of the United States
should step in to parcel out an appropriate punishment
for the former dictator, utilizing the Hague Convention and
the example of previous trials of such malefactors."

This Beautiful Pool
"The winds never reach it, and its surface is never ruffled;
but its deep-bosomed placidity seems to cover guilty secrets, and you fancy it
in communication with the capricious and treacherous forces of nature.
Its very color has a kind of joyless beauty ---
a blue as cold and opaque as a solidified sheet of lava."

Lower Forms of Life
"I put the lace around my thigh that year,
put on a white dress, and a man's head
appeared below, asking after the cake.
The people took pictures of my golden thighs
and we drank champagne with dark bubbles."

Photograph of Mother
"In your thinning dress,
squinting at the world
beyond your yard,
you willed better, saw the earth's
betrayal, all your ancestors tilling
to empty, digging up nothing
but grief."


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

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you help perpetuate honest,
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You will also receive
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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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