The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities
Late Summer 2015FIFTEEN GREAT TRAVEL BOOKSTravel books come across our desks quite frequently.
And a Couple that Bombed
We are fond of them, because we like the effect of travel:
stirring up the juices (and stirring the fears),
to leave behind our daily rote, to develop new tastes,
experience new smells and occasionally,
uncover terrors we never knew existed down deep
inside the minds of other lands.NEW TITLESSeven Steps to Train Your Mind
"Thank you for the harm you have given me,
because thereby you have helped me
to develop the enlightened attitude of bodhicitta.
Please continue to cause me even more
problems and suffering in the future
so that I will have many more occasions to train my mind."
The Wright Brothers
"The city editor of
The Dayton Daily Journal,
one Frank Tunison (who also
represented the Associated Press), said,
'If it had been fifty-seven minutes,
then it might have been
a news item.'"
"Maybe we the viewers are
misjudged and underestimated.
Who wouldn't want to be a part
of this highly liberated, athletically fluid,
"To reach a large audience, grafitti artists
command unused visual space (trucks or trains,
streets or sidewalks, whole sides of buildings)
to offer a message to (and often for) the world."
"Library Journal said the book was "lovely, wrenching,"
Publishers Weekly called it "emotionally intense,"
and Kirkus found it "striking."
We could certainly agree with this last,
especially after Mum bops Caitlin in the face
for the third time, then grabs her hair,
shoves her head under water long enough
to leave us all sputtering."
The Dead Lake
"For anyone who had never lived in the steppe,
it is hard to understand how it is possible
to exist surrounded by this wilderness on all sides.
But those who have lived here since time out of mind
known how rich and variable the steppe is.
How multicolored the sky above.
How fluid the air all around."
A Higher Form of Killing
"I had the torpedo lashed in place
at the outside of the narrow bunk and it kept me
from falling out of bed when the boat did some of its fancy rolling.
At first I was kept awake a bit by the thought of
having so much TNT in bed with me.
Then I got used to it."
The Man in the High Castle
"Here came the hexagram,
brought forth by the passive chance
workings of the vegetable stalks.
Random, and yet rooted in the moment in which he lived,
in which his life was bound up with all other lives
and particles in the universe."
Wil Usdi: Thoughts from the Asylum
"He flapped his arms ---
or his wings --- more, harder, and at the same time,
he bent his knees slightly and then shoved off
as hard as he could. He was going up --- up into the sky.
He flapped his wings and rose
higher and higher."
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
"Too many bad things, and some terrible,
had happened over the years, and to regain our old intimacy
we would have had to speak our secret thoughts, but I didn't have the strength
to find the words and she, who perhaps had the strength,
didn't have the desire, didn't see the use."
Great Reviews of the Past
H. L. Mencken
"The typical Oklahoman is as barbarous
as an Albanian or a man of Inner Mongolia.
He is almost unaware of the ideas that engage the modern world;
in so far as he has heard of them he is hostile to them.
He lives and dies on a low plane, pursuing sordid and ridiculous objectives,
and taking his reward in hoggish ways.
His political behavior is that of a barbarian,
and his religious notions are almost savage."
White Waters and Black
"If you ever plan a trip to the headwaters
of the Amazon --- forget it.
And if you plan to ignore this advice,
try to do it by yourself.
Never go with a pack of scientists."
Trotsky and the Ice Pick and
the Twitter/Instagram generation
EVEN MORE LETTERS
Letters We Never Finished Reading
Motherless Babies and Widowers in Your Country
The Sargasso Sea of Motherboards
"At the same time, I suppose my computer
is sending off the various programs, files, apps, bits and bytes
that, the next day, I discover have departed from my home-screen.
I assume they all end up in a kind of digital Sargasso Sea in Redmond, WA,
or Bangalore, India, where symbols, shortcuts, labels, texts,
and whole websites which have bailed out of our computers all over the world
flock together, floating around sluggishly, awaiting new orders
direct from Googleville in Silicon Valley."
Dog Eating Mountain Lion
"I knew only what I knew ---
that it was getting dark and there were coyotes out there ---
but then I knew what I didn't know,
because the cowboy told me about
a black Chow Chow named Cookie
that got itself eaten a few weeks
before I arrived.."
Rabbi Eliakum ben Yahya Meets the KKK
"They began to make a game out of
identifying the men beneath the robes.
'There's Joe Hankus Munro,' said Mr. Bluestein.
'I sold him the sheet he wears that it's cut on the bias.'
It was a signature feature his fellow citizens
would recognize, as Mr. Bluestein, the tailor,
was also a mohel."
"The solution to pollution is to stop ingesting spiders,
Just say no to the arachnida that copulate inside us,
How they pullulate and ovulate, the octopod articulate,
Auriculate, testiculate and oft times unguiculate."
Great Poems of the Past
The Diary of an Almost-Four-Year-Old
"My grandmother wouldn't let us leave rice on our plates.
Instead of telling us about hunger in India
and children with swollen bellies
who would have opened their mouths wide
for each grain,
she would drag all the leftovers to the centers of our plates
with a screeching fork and, nearly in tears,
tell how the uneaten rice would rise to the heavens
to complain to God."
THE OFFICIAL RALPH
OUR NEW POETRY BOOK
The Vivisection Mambo
will be published later this year.
It consists of 125 poems
of the new Neo-Realist School,
many exposed here
for the first time.
In a starred review, Kirkus called it
A fine anthology of some of
the best contemporary poetry around.
OUR RECENT ANTHOLOGY
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
was published last year.
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.
If you subscribe to RALPH, you get a free copy of this anthology ---
which was just listed by Kirkus as
"One of the Best Books of 2014."
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
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.
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 thirty years.
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Behind the Scenes
The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.
10,000 - 12,000 Hits Daily
Over 100,000,000 Total Hits
1994 - 2015
Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176
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