The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 289

August 23, 2017

Great Translations
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 selfto another's being no matter
how splendid her own - - - immerse and dissolve
the persona who came here from her home
early this morning.
[July 20]

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."

"I have learned that
when you cannot sleep, the discipline of silence can serve
as a substitute, a kind of waking sleep allowing us
to let go and live in the present. This does not mean
it is passive or vacant. It means we surrender control
and begin to listen."
[To be posted]

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."
[August 14]

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."
[August 10]

The Evolution Underground
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."
[To be posted]

Brave Genius
"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 lá,
hypocapnia, aphasia,
and apraxia set in."
[August 11]

Raymond Chandler
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."
[Posted August 18]

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, &
ultimately nauseating."

[August 16]

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."

[To be posted]

Tree Lines
"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
facilitate memory."
[To be posted]

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.
[To be posted]

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."
[Posted August 13]

Find here all 288 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 here
since 1994.

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
between them.

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
[Posted August 16]

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
fundraising campaign."
[Posted August 12]

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.

[Posted August 15]

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."
[To be Posted]

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.
[Posted August 19]

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."[August 15]

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."


Life Among the Walkies
"If you don't understand
the word Walkies, you probably are one.
It refers to the 90 percent of the world's people
who, when walk-time comes, just get up and do it.
For the disabled, this simple act of get up and go
is one of those miracles that continues to bemuse us:
feet & arms & legs & balance & potential &
kinetic energy all coming together in
apple-pie order, working solemnly,
beautifully, to get through the room,
the city, the country,
the world."

The Vivisection Mambo
was recently 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 several 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.
We still have a few dozen copies on hand.
If you know of a library or research organization
or worthy save-the-world institution
or poverty-stricken artist, writer, or poet
who you believe deserves a copy,
please note their address
and we'll mail them one, gratis.
(Send appropriate postage if outside the U. S.)

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.

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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