The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 278

Early Fall 2016

Eighteen Great Books of Photography
We are always smitten by the work (and the care)
of the photograph books that pass over our desk.
We try to describe what they feel like, and,
at least, reproduce one or two of the best shots.
Here are a dozen-and-a-half that linger with us,
might so do with you.

The Mindful Writer
"Show up and get to work
and at the same time, listen to
where the writing wants to take you.
Understand that the writing itself will often
provide far richer material than you logical, predictable mind."

A Song to My City
"One of the joys here are the place names.
Foggy Bottom is the most favored
by those of us who are looking for silly names,
as well as "Swampoodle" - - - once the home for the thousand of Irish,
along with "Steak Alley," "Slop Bucket Row,"
and "Murder Bay."

Show Me All Your Scars
"Our suicide prevention coordinators
are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts a month
among the veterans we see in our medical facilities.
Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves
in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?"

Lithium Jesus
"He wangled his way into a press conference
with President George Bush #1, during which,
in a lull, Kane interrupted this fully televised event
to blurt out a singular, very mysterious line,
telling the president of the free world that
The homeless in the trees are mourning your decisions here."

Concrete Carnival
"He quotes from Nietzsche,
Was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker:
'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'
Some us prefer 'What doesn't kill you makes you
much more wily the next time around.'"

Don Juan
"While setting Don Juan in Cadiz,
he takes three stanzas aside to exclaim
on the luscious, lusty beauty of the particular women
of that particular city,
all the while pretending to try to stop his outburst,
to control his passion gone overboard."

Hurricane Street
"By his singular acts of rebellion,
Kovic taught many of us that
the price of international violence is high,
for it not only destroys the enemy,
but those who are supposed to be
on our side, wherever that may be."

See Also Deception
"Is it possible that indexing,
as a job, is far more
sexy than you would think?
Certainly so, if we were charged with
indexing The Price of Salt."

Great Reviews from the Past
A History of the Polar Regions
"Six men stepped out onto the polar plateau.
The team's leader, Admiral George Dufek, was asked
what he thought of it. 'It's a hell of a lot of ice,
but what use is it?'
He and his men dug a hole and planted a flag,
and then they immediately developed frostbite."

"Haiku is not all blossom and ponds.
To make the point, Blyth offers the words of St. Paul,
'The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together until now,
waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God,'
and then immediately contrasts this to:
For you fleas too,
The night must be long,
It must be lonely."

Sacred Pain
"Author Glucklich compares the Inquisition to
(are you ready?) --- Freudian psychoanalysis.
And he does it in such a way as
to almost (almost) make it stick,"

All This Gold Hurts My Mouth

American Candide

Patricia Smith Poetry
Carlos vs. Lolita

Enemy Agents
"You need a chainsaw to get at
the food inside any cardboard package.
Pineapple chunks are marketed in plastic tubs
which cannot be opened without
the use of a diamond-cutting drill."

Cold Water in Warm Springs
"There was no pretense at Warm Springs;
he was home. Here he was admired
and loved and no one gave a damn
whether or not he could walk."

Great Readings from the Past
My Friend Emma
"My beloved Emma is,
if nothing else,
as she fights for her charges against all odds,
a saint, probably much more so
than that bothersome Mother Teresa."

Warren Hinckle and The Deputy
"We could not find a priest
who would even answer the doorbell if he knew
we were coming to ask him to put his name
to such an infidel committee. In desperation
I threw some Catholic laymen in the pot ---
Gordon Zahn, the sociologist, and
John Howard Griffin, the novelist."

The Sun Rising
"To warme the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art every where;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy spheare."

"While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
.... the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy"

The Persian
"Goodbye, goodbye!
There was so much to love, I could not love it all;
I could not love it enough.
Some things I overlooked, and some I could not find.
Let the crystal clasp them
When you drink your wine, in autumn."


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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