The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Volume XIII, Number 3

Fall, 1997

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World Poetry
"Four poems in Urdu, two in Marathi, three in Hindi,
three in Bengali, one in Tamil, among others. Whew.
So what is there to complain about?"

The Strange Life of Sumner Welles
"He was once described by Washington columnists
Alsop and Kintner as a tall, powerfully-built, beautifully tailored man
with the glacial manner, and an expression which suggests that a morsel
of bad fish has somehow or other lodged itself in his moustache."

Lust in the Library Stacks
"His Dewey Decimal Classification system had
little or nothing to do with classification, decimals, or deweys,
but rather came about because of his interest in
Victorian Ladies and their bustles."

Picture Mexico City
"Ten kids with ten cameras, strolling everywhere,
taking pictures of their families, and the local drunks,
and the local iglesia, and the dogs, and the gangs,
and the graffiti-filled walls, and the street clowns."

Trollies, Southern Humor, Blind Schools in Arkansas,
Rich Foundations, Collectibles, and The Middle East Explained

Charlie Chaplin, Kenneth Rexroth, In the Orchard,
The Patisambhida-magga, the Smell of Gangrene

"Stars that talk, talk of peppermint pie,
Oedipal pleasures, the daily average of
Standard and Poors, and the complete
Memoirs of Jacques Casanova."

Donkeys and Dead Worlds
"All these dead suns...fragments of dead worlds, shattered and exploded,
old moons, flawed and cankered, crusts sores, blotches, cold lupus,
devouring leprosy, sanies, and that last drop of pearl-like light,
the purest of all, sweating at the highest point of the firmament
and about to not a tear nor a dewdrop, but a drop of pus."

Kiss My (Left) Foot
"When a Celestial takes into his hand a woman's foot,
especially if it is very small, the effect upon him
is precisely the same as is provoked in a European
by a young and firm bosom."

The Day Friedrich Nietsche Went Crazy
"Friedrich was singing --- enunciating clearly,
though when he talked he used to stutter --- he was singing a poem
which was unknown to us, and it was his latest poem, 'Venice.'
I don't like Friedrich's compositions. They're mediocre.
But this song...well, by God, it was sublime."

The New World in 1787
"The seed ticks made life miserable in summer, and the bedbugs
which Virginia called chinches. With Southerners the drinking
of spirituous liquors was a delightful --- and frequent ---
ceremony which involved extraordinary mixtures:
mint sling, pumpkin flip, bumbo, apple toddy."

The Year They Tried to Censor The Deputy
"Hell's fire, I figured, another, longer telegram
might further set astir the journalistic duck ponds of Manhattan.
(I am a firm believer in telegrams; 'Deliver, do not phone,'
is a most effective creed; few among us are jaded enough not to
take notice of the flat-chested yellow carrier pigeon from Western Union.)"

The Dying of a Child
"Little children seem to age in a few hours.
One sees a heedless, careless, child become all at once
wide-awake, high-strung, alert to the matter in hand,
and this is, breathing."

Three from World Poetry
"Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy:
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day."

Two By Marlene Joyce Pearson
"I remember the toad the preacher cast out
of that sixteen-year old girl. There was a
picture of it in a jar and for six dollars
you could send for a record of its cries
and an eight by ten glossy."

A Sonnet to Helen
"And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars."

What Lord Keynes called Woodrow Wilson; also
A reviewer tell us what kind of books he is looking for:
"Don't send anything about UFOs or Angels."

Books that have been sent to
us within the last fortnight or so.

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.

T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
 We've been around (in different guises) for over twenty-five years. 
The Fessenden Fund
Other activities of RALPH's godparents, including
Mho & Mho Works

Ralph R. Doister

Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92107


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