Issue #283
Late Winter 2017
Title Author Publisher Subject
Ron Arias
Palenque and "Toxicos"
The Strange Death of Thomas Merton
The Readers of RALPH [Letters] Correspondence with the Magazine
Concerning Previous
Reviews, Articles,
Poems, Readings, and
Letters to RALPH
15 Knee-Slappers The Editors of RALPH [List] A Dozen or So of the Funniest Books from the Early Days of RALPH
Sober Stick Figure
A Memoir
Amber Tozer (Running Press) A Full-Time Alcoholic Tells of Her Blackouts, Drunken
Lay-Overs, and the Impossibility of
Stopping with the First Bottle
Tales from Nowhere
Unexpected Stories from Unexpected Places
Don George, Editor (Lonely Planet) Thirty or so Horror Tales from Being on the Road
Presented Here as If the Book Were Brand New.
It Ain't - - - Having Been Published Ten Years Ago
Joyce Brothers
The Founding Mother of Television Psychology
Kathleen Collins (Rowman & Littlefield) Dr. Brothers Was a Bona Fide Psychology - - -
But She Broke into Television by Pretending to Be
A Master on the Exotica of Boxing
Where I Can See You Larry Sweazy (Seventh Street) Detective Hud Mathews Goes Back to Lake Demmie
Where the Bodies Start Dropping Like Flies
The Tortoise of History
Anselm Hollo (Coffee Hoouse) Exotic Beatnik Poetry by One Who Grew Up in Finland
The Colour of Shadows
Images of Caribbean Slavery
Judy Raymond (Caribbean Studies Press) A Few, Very Few, Pictures by Richard Bridgens
With Endless Text on Slavery Horrors in Trinidad
New World Dharma
Interviews and Encounters with Buddhist Teachers, Writers, and Leaders
Trevor Carolan (State University of New York) More than Thirty American Masters of Buddhism
on the Coming of that Discipline to these Shores
One String Guitar
A Novel
Mona de Vestel (Harvard Square Editions) A Catalogue of Horrors of [1] The Rwandan genocide
Followed by a Catalogue of Horrors of [2] 19th Century American Indians
Missing Believed Killed[G]
The Remarkable Story of
A Japanese POW Camp Survivor
John Baxter (Arum Books) Three Years During WWII as a Japanese Prisoner
Nights in the Pink Motel[G]
An American Strategist's Pursuit of Peace in Iraq
Robert Earle (Naval Institute Press) A Sterling Account of John Negroponte's "Thinker" - - -
Trying to Come Up with an "Exit Strategy" from Iraq
Reviews of Two New Hollywood Epics
"Monster Trucks" and "Great Wall"
Dr. Phage [Article] Two Recent Films Dissected with Aplomb
A Brief, Subjective, Personal, Biased, Irregular Survey of
Arts and Literary Sites on the Web
Douglas Cruickshank [Article] Ten Great Literary/Arts Links to Be Found Online
The Municipal Jail in Mérida
Charles Portis [Reading] A Jail That Doesn't Care If You Go Hang
Thomas Merton's Death Interview with John Russell [Reading] Some Thoughts on the Controversial
Death of the Famed Religious Figure
Hunchback Mountain

100-Year-Old Poet

Anselm Hollo [Poetry] Modigliani
first name Amedeo
didn't live long enough
to paint you
this morning
(or one of many mornings)
stretched out
beside me

Letter from Breslau Prison
Rosa Luxemburg [Reading] Letter to Sophie Liebnecht on
Solitary Christmas in Prison

Issue #284
Early Spring 2017
Title Author Publisher Subject
RALPH's Stodgy Humor
Drugs and The Winter War
The Readers of RALPH [Letters] Correspondence with the Magazine
Concerning Previous
Reviews, Articles,
Poems, Readings, and
Letters to RALPH
Looking for Betty MacDonald
The Egg, the Plague,
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I
Paula Becker (University of Washington Press) An Exhaustive Examination of
the Life and Works of the Elegant
Comic Pacific Northwest Writer
The Boat Rocker Ha Jin (Pantheon) An Odd Book Telling of
A Man Obsessed by the Writings
of his Ex-Wife
The Enigma of Iris Murphy**
Maureen Millea Smith (Livingston Press) The Moving Tale of a Public Defender Who
Is Suddenly Defending Herself against Death
And the Monkey Learned Nothing*
Dispatches from a Life in Transit
Tom Lutz (Sightline / University of Iowa) Sixty Eight Dispatches from All Over the World
In Comic, Detailed Form
The Hemingway Thief Shaun Harris (Seventh Street Books) A Lost Manuscript of Hemingway Found in
Seedy Ensendada Baja
Get Well Soon
History's Worst Plagues and
The Heroes Who Fought Them
Jennifer Wright (Henry Holt) A Semi-Comic Approach to the Most Devastating
Diseases that Have Plagued Humanity
Polio Boulevard**
A Memoir
Karen Chase (Excelsior/State University of
New York Albany)
A Gentle Story of the Author's Time in Hospital
the Now Conquered Disease
Human Heart, Cosmic Heart
A Doctor's Quest to Understand, Treat,
And Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Thomas Cowan, M. D. (Chelsea Green) An Off-the-Wall Disquisition on Heart Disease - - -
And Some of Its More Obscure Cures
Heavy Metal
A Novel
Andrew Bourelle (Autumn House) A Surprisingly Vivid Story of Two Brothers and
Gang Warfare through the Haze of Heavy Metal
A Frozen Hell[G]
The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939 - 40
William R. Trotter (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill) How the Russians Were Stymied for
The Better Part of a Year in Beating
The Finns in 1940 -1941
Abbott Awaits[G]**
A Novel
Chris Bachelder (Louisiana State University Press) A Classic Child Raises the Father from
An Unknown (and Superb) Author
As Long as I'm
Still Entertainable
Mike Ervin [Article] One of the Best Disabled Writers on
What Happens When They Take Away Everything
Cameron Kills Pretty Enemy LLP Maureen Millea Smith [Reading] A Lawyer from the Rez - - -Learning How
To Live with His Interns
Life on a Chicken Ranch
Daily Tasks on the Chicken Ranch
Betty MacDonald [Readings] Making the Best of Life on
The Wilds of Washington State
A Kennedy in Each of Us Gary Margolis [Poem] The senator's son wasn't supposed to tell
anyone his mother and father were drunks
he loved. Like you and me, he was the secret
they counted on, to hold things in.
Recuerdo Edna St. Vincent Millay [Poem] We were very tired, we were very merry - - -
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable - - -
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon . . .
The Bestiary[S]
Or, Procession of Orpheus
Guillaume Apollinaire
X. J. Kennedy, Translator (Johns Hopkins University Press) The Twenty-Six Aanimals in The Bestiary
In Woodcuts by Raoul Dufy.
* = A Book the Editors Believe to be Worthwhile
** = A Book the Editors Believe to be Outstanding
[G] = Great Reviews or Great Readings from the Past
[S] = Surprise Hit of the Month

Issue #285
Mid-Spring 2017
Title Author Publisher Subject
C. M. Mayo and
Human Heart, Cosmic Heart
Bach & Ich Habe Genug
The Readers of RALPH [Letters] Correspondence with the Magazine
Concerning Previous
Reviews, Articles,
Poems, Readings, and
Letters to RALPH
15 Lost Poems The Editors [List] Poems dug up over the last year or so
to match those published in The Vivisection Mambo
The Drug Hunters*
The Improbable Quest to Discover New Medicines
Donald R. Kirsch, Ogi Ogas (Arcade) A Long and Interesting Study of How New
or Traditional Drugs Get into the Marketplace
Wild Sex*
The Science Behind Mating
In the Animal Kingdom
Carin Bondar (Pegasus Books) A Wry (and very exhausting) exhaustive study
of how the birds, beasts, and bugs
do it in the hay
Police at the Station*
And They Don't Look Friendly
Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street Books) Another riotous tale of the slightly unhinged
Sean Duffy finally puts all to rights using
Buster Keaton, John Berryman, and Yeats
Burmese Monk's Tales Maung Htin Aung (Pariyatti Press) Filled with practical if not raucous sayings of
the very holy and often funny Thingazar Sayadaw.
Al Capone's Beer Wars
A Complete History of Organized Crime
in Chicago During Prohibition
John "The Professor" Binder (Prometheus Books) A deep examination of the inner workings
of the most notorious Chicago
Prohibition gangs
FDR on His Houseboat
The Larooco Log, 1924 - 1926
Karen Chase, Editor (Excelsior/State University of New York Press) Roosevelt's extensive efforts to learn to walk again
before he began his second political career
The Art of Death
Writing the Final Story
Edwidge Danticat (Graywolf) A somewhat overdone study of the final cook-out (of us all)
The Urban Fox
And Other Poems
Ian Dunlop (Paekakariki Press) A gorgeous small volume of the poetaster's first poems.
The Last Prince of
The Mexican Empire[G]
Catherine Mansell Mayo (Unbridled Books) A superb rendering of Ferdinand Maximilian last days as emperor
Eskimo Architecture[G]
Dwelling and Structure in The Early Historic Period
Molly Lee
Gregory A. Reinhardt
(University of Alaska Press) Fallingwater, the Eiffel Tower, and
Chartres - - - all done in ice.
Johann Sebastian Bach[G]
The BBC's Bach Christmas
L. W. Milam [Article] The Week That Was: When the BBC gave over
seven days to nothing but Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
The BBC's Bach Christmas
Dr. Phage [Reading] The source of Bach's genius: He came, we now know, from the planet Ixneria
What's Love Got
To Do with It?
From Human Heart, Cosmic Heart
Thomas Cowan, MD
(Chelsea Green Publishing) Some thoughts on heart transplants - - -
How they change the personality of the recipient
The First Painless Operation
Oil of Vitriol
Donald R. Kirsch and Ogi Ogas [Reading] The very first operation that was completely painless
Metamorphosis Susan Okie [Poem] The high desert's
adapting me,
molding the squat,
flattened shape
and blunt snout
of a short-horned lizard,
one of a dozen species
found in North and Central
Heart Failure Christopher Buckley [Poem] A former student jokes that I'm a Cyborg now,
although everything I love on earth demands
an old school iambic meter to hold us
here, to steady and slow the rotation of the stars
red-shifted, and forever moving away.

Issue #286
Late Spring/Early Summer 2017
Title Author Publisher Subject
Al Capone's Beer Wars
The Founders of RALPH
This Life by Karel Schoeman
The Readers of RALPH [Letters] Correspondence with the Magazine
Concerning Previous
Reviews, Articles,
Poems, Readings, and
Letters to RALPH
15 Wriggly Animals The Editors [List] Earlier reviews about those creatures who love to love you
(or even want to love you to death)
WPA Buildings*
Architecture and Art of the New Deal
Joseph Maresca (Schiffer)
A Run-Down of The Great Depression Experiment with
Grand, Restrained, Gently Elegant Public Buildings
A Guided Tour of Hell
A Graphic Memoir
Samuel Bercholz (Shambhala) One man's guided visit to the Buddha hell to get cooked
- - - alternating with frozen blisters and chilblains
Isabella of Castile
Europe's First Great Queen
Giles Tremlett (Bloomsbury) One of the first Iron Iron ladies
Elephants in My Back Yard*
A Memoir
Rajiv Surendra (Regan Arts) All he wanted to do was to land the starring
role in The Life of Pi - - - but failing that,
he charms to reader beyond all good reason
A Thin Bright Line* Lucy Jane Bledsoe (University of Wisconsin) The scary gay lives of American women of the 1950s
At the Edge of the Orchard Tracy Chevalier (Penquin) The ordinary day-to-day horrors of staking out
land in mid-nineteenth century America - - - and yet
ending up as expert on native trees.
The Selected Letters of John Cage* Laura Kuhn (Wesleyan University Press)An engrossing collection - - - the best
of the atonal black-arts magician
This Life[G]* Karel Schoeman (Archipelago) A transfixing novel on survival of the Africaans in South Africa 150 years ago
Arrogance[G]* Joanna Scott (Picador) The mad momentous artist Egon Schiele
revealed in all his bawdy splendor
The Richard A. C. Greene Campaign for Washington State Land Commissioner L. W. Milam [Article] One of the most ferociously bizarre
political campaigns of the last fifty years
Cancer in Midlife Maureen Millea Smith [Reading] Mid-life woe from The Enigma of Iris Murphy
The Exploding Whale Bernd Heinrich [Reading] The Do's and Don't's of caring for a
whale body washed up on your beach
Heart Test with An Echo Chamber Margaret Atwood [Poem] "Wired up at the ankles and one wrist,
a wet probe rolling over my skin,
I see my heart on a screen
like a rubber bulb or a soft fig, but larger,
enclosing a tentative double flutter,
the rhythm of someone out of breath
but trying to speak anyway; two valves opening
and shutting like damp wings
unfurling from a gray pupa."
Seven Poems from the Writers of RALPH
Tootie-Fruit ME & Ass-Grasp LA
C. A. Amantea [Poems] "In conclusion, I should like to report that our brains
Are now pickled & dried with love, & are thus weighted
In units of filial darkness. Our watches separate time
From space (in planetary feet) & thus put us on the
Very last train to Bugger Bean OH or Assgrasp LA,
All singing Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani."

Issue #287
Early Summer 2017
Title Author Publisher Subject
To Say It Unbridled
Scabies, Baby
The Readers of RALPH [Letters] Correspondence with the Magazine
Concerning Previous
Reviews, Articles,
Poems, Readings, and
Letters to RALPH
The Weirdest Books The Editors [List] Some of the Oddest Books that have
Come into the Magazine for Review
Such a Waste of Stars*
Tom Crawford (The Search) One of the Best of the New Poets - - -
with a Typically Dry & Buddha Wit of It All
Vintage Trailer Voyeur
A Peek Inside the
Unique Trailer Culture
Victoria Ocken (Schiffer) Those Lovely Floating Land Launches - - -
Here Renewed with Care
Mrs. Caliban** Rachel Ingalls (New Directions) A Reissue of the Great Novel from Thirty Years Ago
- - - Complete with a Jolly (and Steamy)
Green Lover (and His Sedate Love)
What She Ate:
Six Remarkable Women and
The Food that Tells Their Story
Laura Shapiro (Viking) Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Gurley Brown,
Dorothy Wordsworth and Eva Braun - - - and the Food They Did
(And More Often Didn't) Eat
Olio* Tyehimba Jess (Wave Books) Being Black in a Slave World - - - and the
Tools used to Get Out from Under
Unforbidden Pleasures** Adam Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) A Terrific Study of the Contradictory Forces
That Made Us (and Oedipus, & Adam & Eve) Tick
How the CIA Tricked The World's Best Writers
Joel Whitney (OR Books) Our Best (and Most Wily) Literature Types
Lulled into Thinking They Were Being Free (While
Marching to The Beat of a Different Drummer)
A People's History of Poverty in America[G] Stephan Pimpare (The New Press) How to Control the Poor with Monies
(That Keep Them on the Straight, the Narrow
and the Locked Up)
Skin Deep[G]
Tattoos, the Disappearing West, Very Bad
Men, and My Deep Love for them All
Karol Griffin (Harcourt) A Terrific Autobiography about How to
Decorate Tough Guys with Needle and Ink
The Ultimate Retirement L. W. Milam [Article] The Final Laying Out of Our Final Days
Refusing an Honorary Degree
The Proper Diet, and
Telling the President of TWA Airlines
About the Best
Flight Food
John Cage [Readings] It Wasn't All About Time (4:33)
In the Master's World
Slavery and the Welfare StateStephen Pimpare [Reading] Public Relief, Indentured Servitude and Slavery
Redwing, The Pie Is Now Tom Crawford [Poetry] "It's silly to talk to the peach tree
about future pies, that's why
we have portfolio managers
for those who want to get ahead,
which can be hell on a good night's sleep."
Three More Poems
The Forge
Bad Day at the Beauty Salon
Lynne Knight, George Bilgere, Maggie Estep [Poetry] "I sat inside like a portrait, pretending to be a portrait
when he came by, holding my breath, eyes staring straight
beyond him. Your mother's disappeared again,
he'd call to my daughter, who'd come near, feign
a search for me. Some people need to escape,
she'd say, and wave her hand, and turn away."
An Epic Tragedy
Diana Preston (Walker) The Moment-by-Moment of the Great Disaster
(That Changed the Course, for Worse)
of the U.S. - - - 1917

* = A Book the Editors Believe to be Worthwhile
** = A Book the Editors Believe to be Outstanding
[G] = Great Reviews or Great Readings from the Past
[S] = Surprise Hit of the Month

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