The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 268

Late Fall 2015

We like to think that people come to
this magazine for the terrific writing. Well, maybe.
Just as likely are the terrific pictures and photographs that
we add to each of our reviews, articles, readings, and poems.
Here are twelve that get the most hits.
The Essential Ginsberg
"It was like a kind of time machine
though which he could transmit his basic consciousness
and communicate it to somebody else after he was dead ---
in other words, build a time machine."

Owls of North America and the Caribbean
"The male Ferruginous Pygmy's
runtish stance is constantly being
mocked by the female of the species.
She makes screeching sounds as he tries to mount her,
hooting him down, even holding little whip-like tree-branches
in her beak, the better to pound him with."

The Shift
"A sickness, one
that may come from a fabled land all its own,
with its own language, a lovely, lethal poetry:
Basal Kaposi, Vulvar Lymphoma,
Squamous Malignant Glioma."

Walking with Abel
"She is interested in what
the word nomad means and does.
What it is to place one foot before the other
for days and weeks and months, following a herd of
cows and cowboys, going from the droughty regions
in the plains of central Mali up to
the steppes of Hayré."

God's Bankers
"The effect is to bring the reader to despair.
We are surprised that the author --- a practicing Catholic ---
was able to follow through. Me?
I had to leave off around page 250."

The Hare with Amber Eyes
"Netsuke is art to be held,
handled, played with by children
on the carpet in the library,
to be placed in a trouser pocket and
rolled between the fingers
absentmindedly to induce calm."

The Martian
"He has to find something
he can set on fire to create smoke
so he can discover where the leak is.
But everything that NASA has put
on Mars is nonflammable.
With one exception.
Right: Watney.
His hair."

The Vienna Melody
"Our Emperor is a disgrace.
He actually said to an American President,
You see in me the last monarch of the old school,
and was proud of the disgrace!"

"This particular assignment put me in a real pickle,
or so I thought when I first took it on.
One of my very favorite, most admired writers of all time
birthed a James Bond novel for crap's sake."

The Story of the Lost Child
"I publish to be read.
It's the only thing that interests me about publication.
So I employ all the strategies I know
to capture the reader's attention, stimulate curiosity,
make the page as dense as possible and as easy as possible to turn.
But once I have the reader's attention I feel it is my right
to pull it in whichever direction I choose."

Africa Today
The Lower River
"Why do people lie?"
"Because they have been taught to lie.
It works for them better than the truth.
And they're hungry.
If you're hungry, you will do anything,
you will agree to anything, you will say anything."

Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today's Uganda
"No book that I'm aware of
better captures and conveys the enormous dichotomy and
the cultural schizophrenia that these women deal with
every day in Uganda until the coming of this just published,
thoughtful, eloquent anthology."

Great Reviews of the Past
The American People in World War II
"Wartime contracts were
a bonanza to large American corporations.
More than two-thirds of prime
military contracts went to just one hundred firms.
The 33 largest corporations accounted for
half of all military contracting."

Another Day of Life --- I
"Like Orwell,
Kapuściński misses nothing --- the shabbiness,
the stink, the bodies, the nightly radio transmission
difficulties with Poland, the beautiful
lady commando."

Another Day of Life --- II
"O, Lord! Despite a great many prayers to You
we are continually losing our wars.
That is why I must tell You something:
This battle tomorrow is going to be a serious affair.
There will be no place in it for children.
Therefore I must ask You
not to send Your Son to help us.
Come Yourself."

Claude Debussy

Five Old Duffers & Five Million Dollars

The Stop The War Coalition
"The STW was established on September 21, 2001 ---
10 days after the murderous
Al Qaeda attacks on civil aviation,
the World Trade Towers and
the Pentagon."

Alice's Adventures Under Ground
Thanks to the British Library's
Turning the Pages Web site,
you can look through
the original manuscript of
Alice's Adventures Under Ground
see the story written in Dodgson's own hand,
closely study the 37 illustrations he drew.

Playing Under Lenin
"And here I am, shuddering with excitement
behind a tree while the big Papa is hunting for me,
he really can't find me! And above me,
Lenin is gesturing acquisitively toward Finland,
his dome balder than my father's.
I am hiding behind a spruce, and my father is singing."

Lenin and the Cheese Sandwich
"After getting off his granite pedestal,
Lenin meets a sympathetic talking goose,
enormous in size, likely flying in from
Georgia or Azerbaijan or Armenia or wherever else
the dark men who sell flowers in the market come from.
Lenin and the goose become best friends."

Good News, A Short Goodbye
"That done, one is free to
usurp a throne or two, to open
one's heart for a closer view. Faceless
yet unafraid, I stood hip-deep in your thoughts,
whose train had up and left."

Two More by Matt Walker
In Your Absence, Smell You Later
"Heat, stern wife to humidity, is moving
upon us, will question us shortly.
Quick, tell me again about your gag reflex.
Presently I'll belly up and
snooze, squeezed in among archaic torsos.
Far away, across the street, it's Saturday night."


The Vivisection Mambo
has just been 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 two 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.
If you subscribe to RALPH, you get a free copy of this anthology ---
which was 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
since 1994.

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

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
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Suggestions for would-be contributors --- and payment schedule.
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The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
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     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Mho & Mho Works
A Dozen or so Books from Our Publishing House
Behind the Scenes

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Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
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