The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities
A great translator is an actor - - -
and she must hide herself, become another, through other's words,
efface whoever she thinks she is, abandon the self
to another's being no matter how splendid her own - - -
immerse and dissolve the persona who came here from her home
early this morning.
No Sun King
"In his right hand
he was carrying a short fly-whisk with
a black and white diamond design on the handle.
He was dressed in gray slacks and
a short-sleeve white shirt. His glasses had
thin gold rims."
The Evolution Underground
"I have been a teacher since Plato
founded the academy. With each passing year,
I observe in a number of my teenage students
higher levels of both anxiety and exhaustion,
two burdens that are closely related."
The One Inside
"Her mouth opened and
I saw tiny animals escaping:
tiny animals trapped inside her all the time.
They flew out as though something might catch them and
drag them back to imprisonment.
I could feel them land on my face and
crawl thought my hair, searching for
a hiding place."
Word by Word
"She tells us about the special problems with S.
It is, to put it in the modern vernacular, the worst.
It is the longest letter in the book and
an absolute heart-breaker, because you can see
the end of the alphabet from it, and you know that
once you clear S, you are moving on to T-Z,
and half of those are barely even letters."
For the pocket gopher populations that
survived the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980,
their collective actions were the key to turning a desolate,
monochromatic landscape back into a vibrant and verdant one.
From a geological perspective, their effects were astoundingly quick,
with partial ecological restoration apparent within just
five years of the eruption."
"Sartre came into direct contact
with a menu from McDonald's restaurant,
and his condition worsened. He went into
a tonic-colonic seizure at the words le menu Happy Meal,
and when he reached En ce moment,
le double Cheese est hypocapnia, aphasia,
and apraxia set in."
The Detections of Totality
"Without magic, there is no art.
Without art, there is no idealism.
Without idealism, there is no integrity.
Without integrity, there is
nothing but production."
The World Broke in Two
"An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me:
the book of a self-taught working man,
& we all know how distressing they are,
how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking, &
Nabokov Upside Down
"With the help of the janitor
he screwed onto the side of the desk a pencil sharpener - - -
that highly satisfying , highly philosophic instrument that goes
ticonderoga ticonderoga feeding on the yellow finish and sweet wood,
and ends up in a kind of soundlessly ethereal void
as we all must."
"I am glad I shall never be young without wild country
to be young in. What avail forty freedoms without
a blank spot on the map?
Yet to draw a line is to
The Art of Fiction
García Márquez said one of
the most difficult things is the first paragraph.
He had spent months on a first paragraph, but when he got it,
the rest was easy. He had the style, the tone, but the problem was
how to start to convey it? The first paragraph was a sample
of what the rest of the book would be.
The Evolution Underground
"According to official records
the subjects were 'volunteers' but you know about
volunteerism in the military: he stands in front of you
and asks for volunteers for a program that will
save American lives and he looks at you
and you know you are doomed."
Music of Macedonia & Andorra
Great Reviews from the Past
Churchill: The Unexpected Hero
"When meeting with King Ibn Saud,
being told that the King would not allow strong drink,
Churchill said that he understood the King's religion, but
my religion prescribed an absolute sacred rite smoking cigars
and drinking alcohol before, after, and if need be during
all meals and the intervals
High Noon in the Cold War
"Thank god, even at
the heights of those ten days of the crises,
we did not know the Strangelovian
horrors going on behind the scenes.
If we had, our general fears would
have been transformed into madness,
knowing that the end was
indeed at hand."
Rebut J. S. Bach &
the Clinch Mountain Boys
The Alumnus Magazine Blues
"Some years ago, I sent my death notice
to the alumni office of the college from which I graduated.
I told them that I had caught my head in the mangle, and therefore
was no longer among the living to receive news of homecoming weekends,
and letters dunning me for donations to each new college
Mekong Delta Blues - - - II
"No, she whispers shyly.
She hasn't heard of San Francisco, or of California.
I want to go with you to Can Tho, she says.
I need to learn more English.
⧐⧐Was He Born Donald Tromp⧏⧏
(Or in a or Donald Trunk?)
"When we launched an extensive investigation
of the birth-records of D. Trump at Jamaica Hospital, New York,
we could not locate any documents bearing the president's name.
Indeed there was no record of a Trump during
the whole week of June 14, 1946."
Vagabonds, Frauds and Scoundrels
They will all know by then,
even supposing that some of them don't know it now,
that votes are collared under democracy,
not by talking sense but by talking nonsense.
Great Readings from the Past
Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and the Ghosts
"In a snuffling tone, he said,
'Sancho, thou seemest to be in great fear.'
'I am so,' answered the squire, 'but, how comes
your worship to perceive my fears now, more than ever?'
'Because, at present, thou smellest more than ever ---
and that not of amber,' replied the knight."
"This is what will happen - - -
you will step from your cab - - -
& your dog
will be so excited
he will pee
on your new Italian shoes.
Your sister - - - a woman
with neither pets nor children
who you left
in charge of both - - -
will weep she's so delighted
you are back
& soon she can go home."
Great Poems of the Past
"When I was small, I knew them well.
I counted on them up to ten
And put them in my mouth to tell
The larger from the lesser. Then
I loved them better than my ears,
My elbows, adenoids, and heart.
But with the swelling of the years
We drifted, toes and I, apart."
Surprise Top Pop Hit of the Month
The Gifts of the Moon
"The moon, which is caprice itself,
looked in the window while you were sleeping in your crib, and said to herself:
That child pleases me.
And then she mellowly descended her staircase of clouds and
passed noiselessly through the windows."
THE OFFICIAL RALPH
BOOKS FROM MHO & MHO WORKS
Life Among the Walkies
The Psychology of the Old and
the Newly Disabled
The Vivisection Mambo
Poems from RALPH
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
Our Anthology from Two Years Ago
LIFE AMONG THE WALKIES
Life for the Old and Disabled ExaminedTHE VIVISECTION MAMBO
Poems from the "New Neo-Realist School." THE NOISIEST BOOK REVIEW IN THE KNOWN WORLD
Reviews, Essays, Poetry, Articles, and
Curious Facts from the pages of RALPH
A CRICKET IN THE TELEPHONE
Poetry from RALPH and
The Fessenden Review
A GUIDE FOR PUZZLED MEXICANS
A wry look at the United States
as it might be seen
by a bemused visitor
from south of the border.
Zen and the world of the disabled.
THE LOURDES OF ARIZONA
A conference of masters of
SEX & BROADCASTING
Setting up a radio station for the community
AND OTHER VOYAGES
Travels through Africa, Europe, and the Far East.
THE PETITION AGAINST GOD
Revelations about FCC Petition RM-2493.
THE RADIO PAPERS
Essays on how American radio could have been
The virtues of special education for the young.
THE CRIPPLE LIBERATION FRONT
MARCHING BAND BLUES
Another Angry Crip
THE BLOB THAT ATE OAXACA
Travelling by wheelchair through
Asia and Central America
If you know someone in need
of one of our books - - - in jail, out of work, out of sorts - - - forward their address to us
and we'll send them a free copy
In our General Index, from day one,
we have given stars to those titles that
our editors deemed to be of "especial merit."
You can now find them all here,
listed alphabetically by title.
THE FESSENDEN REVIEW
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.
A PITHY SAMPLE
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.
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
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.
2015 - 2016
476,768 Unique Visitors
1,645,139 Page Hits
Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176