Issue #288
Mid-Summer 2017
Title Author Publisher Subject
J. S. Bach & the Clinch Mountain Boys
Cataract Operations Gone Bad
The Readers of RALPH [Letters] Correspondence with the Magazine
Concerning Previous
Reviews, Articles,
Poems, Readings, and
Letters to RALPH
A Marriage of Pix & Texts The Editors of RALPH [List] A Dozen or So Book Reviews Absolutely Loaded with
Drawings, Pictures, Cuts and Illustrations
Men Without Women
Haruki Murakami (Alfred A. Knopf) A Collection of a Few Shaggy Dog Murakami's
Getting Better & Better as We Near the End
A Rabble of Dead Money
The Great Crash and the Global Depression: 1929 - 1939
Charles R. Morris (PublicAffairs) All the Things You Wouldn't Believe about the Big D - - - Including the Fact, gag, that Prohibition Worked
Shadows of Survival*
A Child's Memoir of the Warsaw Ghetto
Kristine Keese (Academic Studies Press) The Trauma of Living in Warsaw During WWII - - - Ameliorated with Memories of a Child's Fantasies and Lies
An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets
Melissa Castillo-Garsow Editor (Arte Público) 400 pages, 200+ poems, 40 poets - - - bursting with the music
and art and anger of those from the taíno edge
Will Eisner:
A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories
Scott McCloud, Introduction (W. W. Norton) An astonishingly bitter graphic novel - - - one of the first - - -
growing out of the desolation of the 1940s Bronx
The Brother** Rein Raud
Adam Cullen, Translator
(Open Letter) Laila comes back to the Villa, is robbed of it and her monies . . .
until Brother comes as an ancient god to save her (mysteriously)
Toxic Exposures
Mustard Gas and the Health Consequences of
World War II in the United States
Susan L. Smith (Rutgers University Press) No WWII Victims of Mustard Gas? Smith claims there were
Over 60,000 soldiers damaged, physically and mentally,
by Army experiments
First Stop in the New World[S]
Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century
David Lida (Riverhead Books) A fairly tawdry visit to Mexico City two decades ago.
A Rite for a Dead Man
U. R. Ananthamurthy (NYRB Books) Praneschacharya is a respected village elder and
has been charged with finding the way to bury the village heretic.
Caught[B] Henry Green (New York Review Books) One of the writings of the aristocratic English novelist Henry Green
whose real name was Henry Yorke.
The Murderous History of Bible Translation[B]
Power, Conflict, and the Quest for Meaning
Harry Freedman (Bloomsbury) One of the first printers of The Bible, William Tyndale,
was imprisoned then strangled and
burned at the stake. Bible producers have it a little easier now.
Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?[G]
The Transformation of Modern Europe
James J. Sheehan (Houghton Mifflin) The thesis is that the "military horrors of WWI and
WWII were so startlingly awful" that when the United States and
Russia squared off in 1947, "the Europeans
were able to give up military adventurism."
Hawthorn & Child[G] Keith Ridgway (New Directions) Very odd: "Child is what we might call "normal." Maybe.
Hawthorn? Definitely different. Gay. Given to fits of crying.
Sometimes can't seem to tell the difference between
group sex and breaking up demonstrations
with his nightstick."
The Mekong Delta Blues
Part I
Douglas Cruickshank [Article] Forced to spend a month free in Vietnam several years ago,
our brave traveller does what most the people around him are doing:
Mythologies for Modern Times Dr. Phage [Article] "The films mostly consist of its protagonists destroying
whole planets, except when they are disguising themselves as
a firetruck, a Volkwagen Beatle, or a Chevrolet Silverado pickup."
Genghis Khan and His Successors Jack Weatherford [Reading] "A cracker-jack biography of Temujin - - - who became known as Genghis Khan - - -
his successors and the vast empire they created."
Don Quixote
Sancho Panza and the Ghosts
Miguel De Cervantes
Tobias Smollett, Translator
[Reading] "About this time, whether it was owing to the coolness of the morning that approached,
or to his having supped upon something that was laxative;
or, which is more probable, to the operation of nature --- Sancho was seized
with an inclination and desire of doing that
which could not be performed by proxy."
Road Metal Timothy McBride [Poem] "She'd grown up hard
As cement - - - never reached 100 pounds,
Lived on potatoes and tea, cut her own hair.
Husband gone, youngest child killed in the street,
She carried a ball peen hammer up her sleeve
On the daily walks she made us take all over town,
Crossing the river and the canal, circling the miles
Of Eastman Kodak's smokestacks, through the invisible
Hops-scented cloud of the Genesee Brewery"
Sixties Sonnet Michael Waters [Poem] Bics coaxed to climax by God's thwapping bass,
Hissing soppy Oms against the cloudmass.
A drenched, naked hillside soulless and pure,
Zonked, mud-caked, Yanomamö, immature.
I forgive Sly and the Family Stone.
I slept through Santana, dreaming future
Exes who might love me despite my rage.
I have grown lonesome in my afflictions.
Two Visits in One Day Hal Sirowitz [Poem] "We're going to the cemetery to visit
some dead relatives, Mother said, & on the way
back we'll stop over at your aunt's house.
It's good practice to mix the living
with the dead. Otherwise, we'd end up
either being bored at the cemetery, or if
we stayed too long at her house, we'd wish
that she was dead.
Toes John Updike [Poem] I saw my toes the other day.
I hadn't looked at them for months.
Indeed, they might have passed away.
And yet they were my best friends once.
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.

* = 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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