The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 280

Late Fall 2016

Great Disability Literature
Almost fifteen years ago, we printed and distributed
an exhaustive list of twenty-two great books on disability.
The internet being the internet, links to our selection spawned
like rutting salmon in the upper reaches of the Kamloops.
New books on the subject continue to appear, so here
we augment our list with various new titles of what
is now commonly referred to as

Jack London
"I shouldn't wonder
if San Francisco had sunk.
That was some earthquake.
We don't know but the Atlantic
may be washing up at the feet of
the Rocky Mountains."

Sightings of the Sacred
"In Indian cities a cow
has right-of-way over cars,
motorbikes, bicycles and people.
In Delhi, for example, there are
special traffic lights for ungulates.
Because the Sanskrit word for cow is go
most of the time these bovine stop-lights are
continuously green which fuddles up all traffic
to a fare-thee-well."

The Huntress
"In the immediate post-WWII environment,
Long Island was the center of the first of
the great suburban building booms.
And Newsday anticipated it in a series of
prescient articles in 1943 . . . built in collusion
with one Bill Levitt."

Blood Memory
"Hurry on down to my house, baby
Ain't nobody home
Haul it down, drag it down
Any way to get it down
I'm blue as I can be
Ashes-to-ashes. Dust-to-dust
C'mon, honey, you must, you must!"

Fire and Blood
"Spanish soldiers killed
nearly a thousand Republicans in the region of Valladolid.
They organized public executions in the city center,
which fascist dignitaries attended while eating
churros and drinking anisette."

The Whole Earth Field Guide
"Simple black and white moon-shot cover
the earth (taken from Apollo 4)
which we learned later Stewart Brand
single-handedly badgered NASA into publishing - - -
with its graceful message, one which we've always favored:
we are as the gods, so we might as well
get used to it."

War and Turpentine
"The closed courtyards smelled
of Brussels sprout trimmings,
horse manure scraped off the streets,
and drying tobacco leaves.
Describing his own grandmother, born in
the first quarter of the nineteenth century,
he said that her black apron - - - he called it a pinafore
- - - smelled like the offal of young rabbits."

Our Top Pop Hit of the Month
The Creation of the Statue of Liberty
"Ms. Liberty might be inspiring,
but the pedestal is a pompous bloat of
conflicting styles and inchoate thefts from other
nineteenth century architecture."

Great Readings from the Past
The Exploding Whale
"They decided to break up the carcass
and thus facilitate its removal by scavengers.
To accomplish this, they surrounded the whale with twenty cases
(a half-ton) of dynamite. Soon after the fuse was lit,
there was a stupendous rain of blubber chunks
for 800 feet all around, one of which
smashed a car a quarter of a mile away.
These results, curiously, had not
been fully anticipated."

Franz Kafka's Postcards
From Around the World

"The Danes are melancholy and drink
lots of coffee and read only serious books.
I saw a book in a shop with the title
How To Be Sure As To What ls And What lsn't.
And The Doll's Guide To Existentialism;
lf This, Then What?
and You Are More
Miserable Than You Think You Are."

Becoming Amerikanskiy
"The ride over the MacArthur Causeway to
Miami Beach is my real naturalization ceremony.
I want all of it - - - the palm trees, the yachts
bobbing beside the hard-currency mansions,
the concrete-and-glass condominiums preening
at their own reflections in the azure pool water
below, the implicit availability of relations
with amoral women."

Great Disability Reviews from the Past
"Thomas Malthus, the first to write about
what we now call 'the population bomb,' opined that
'the body incarnates a fatal tension between
eating and intercourse, arithmetic and geometry.'
Or that 'war is a wound machine.' Or that Thomas De Quincey,
with his Confessions of an English Opium Eater,
made hunger his theme, as surely as Knut Hamsen."

Body Remember
"'What we are doing in this case
is stepping out of even the basic bewilderment;
not trying to creep around from underneath or
by the back door, but stepping out completely.'
Getting out of our bodies, what they are,
what we think they have become. Getting beyond
our differences from the world. Becoming a warrior ...
in the best sense of the word."

Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky
The Least Tern

Learning to See

You Can't Be Too Careful
"I used my old PC,
which ran on Windows 95, until about 2012,
about three times its recommended official lifespan.
By then, my regular computer consultant warned that
the authorities were watching, and that my continuing to use
such an old computer might constitute
a hanging offense."

Still Quiet on the Belgian Front
Part I
"They are everywhere,
their shrill squeaking never stops,
they dash between our feet, they gnaw on anything
they can get their teeth into, they stink, and
they mate, bear young, and flourish,
eating our biscuits and gnawing on our dead comrades,
walking over your face at night, and whenever you knock one dead,
five others take its place. Sometimes we roast them,
but their flesh is vile, muddy, and gooey."
Part II
"The boy I sent ahead did not return; his death is on my conscience.
I order my men to reoccupy the forward post as quietly as they can,
while I crawl over to the dead soldier's body. I am so close
I can hear the Germans talking.
My heart pounds in my throat."

A Trip to Albert Schweitzer's African Hospital
"Schweitzer's attitude toward his black patients
seemed painfully brusque, condescending,
bordering on disdain. Patterson, along with
most of her traveling companions,
noticed right away the striking contrast
between Lambaréné's myth and reality."

Blue Exits
"If I had a garage,
I would leave the car running.
I could take the hose
from the vacuum cleaner,
and run it from the tailpipe
into the back window of my car,
but someone would see me
now that I live again
in a city, someone would insist
on being a hero."

Two More by Aaron Smith
"When dad worked midnights, mom hid his pistol
in the kitchen in a basket of plastic flowers.
I can get to it, she said, before someone can get in the door.
She kept it by the bed before almost shooting
my father when he came home early without calling.
We joked: sleepwalking could've been her defense . . . "


The Vivisection Mambo
was published last year in the antique handset 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 from many years past
as collected in the hard-copy of the "FOLIO"

With your $25 subscription, you help perpetuate
honest, noisy, pesky book reviews and
the make possible the survival of
this rare if odd online literary journal.
You will also receive a free copy of our superb anthology,
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World.

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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