The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

www.ralphmag.org

  Number 254

Mid-Fall 2014

Ghastly Poetry Books
In our twenty years online,
we have spent countless hours
seeking out great collections of poetry.
In the process we often stumble over
some real stinkers.
Here are thirteen that
take the cake.

NEW TITLES
Emaho Tibet!
"Why did Bodhidharma come from the west?"
Master Fojian replied,
"If you taste vinegar then you know sour.
If you taste salt then you know saltiness."

Doctored
"In many ways
I have become the kind of doctor
I never thought I'd be:
impatient, occasionally indifferent,
at times dismissive or paternalistic."

Beloved Strangers
"A boyfriend. At last.
Maybe he can help her to get out
from under her dark cloud.
But wouldn't you know, Yameen
makes me feel heavy, as if I am wading
through water with stones
tied to my ankles."

A Fighting Chance
"I usually avoid political tracts like ebola,
so I picked this one to sneer but found ---
all too soon --- that I couldn't put it down.
It was hot detective story with a strange twist:
why is it that those who run this country
are trying to murder the middle class?"

Augustus: The First Roman Emperor
"There was Caius Caesar (24 BC-AD 4),
oldest son of Agrippa and Julia, who should not
be confused with Caius Julius Caesar (100-44 BC)
who is known to history as Julius Caesar.
And then, of course, we have Caius Octavius
who became Caius Julius Caesar and later
Caesar Augustus or simply Augustus."

The Fixer
"That's how it is when you do what I do.
You have to be prepared.
You have to think like a criminal."

Zen Cancer Wisdom
"The temptation is to
fight it with all your strength.
But we learn soon enough that although
a fighting spirit may help,
there may be other things to attend to.
Like going on with your life."

Shrinkage
"If I were his editor,
I'd let him know soon enough that
the drama of glioma is powerful enough
to make it possible for him to tell it straight,
without all the sexist collegiate by-play."


Great Reviews of the Past
Combat Trauma
"Ater some grisly confessions
of murderous experiences by some
sixteen writers who spent time in battle,
I found myself coming down
with a case of PTSD myself.
If you do plan to read this, you should hurry.
I suspect that the Pentagon
will be putting out a search-and-destroy mission
on this one, perhaps issuing
a restraining order against it."

Reading Lolita in Tehran
"Maybe that the title itself,
rather than the contents,
ensured the book's success.
Given this volume's rambles
about Western literature,
it could just as easily have been called
Reading Daisy Miller in Tehran or
Reading the Great Gatsby in Tehran or
Reading Jane Austen in Tehran."


LETTERS
Gutzon Borglum
Six Wars at a Time

MORE LETTERS
Nekkid Coworkers

EVEN MORE LETTERS
PLEASE LET IT BEEN VERY URGENT PLEASE
[keep your mouth short division]


ARTICLES
Great Articles from the Past
Death Is the Black Hole of Biology
"Just being told
by an unsmiling guy in a white coat
that your going to be dead in four months
definitely turns on the lights.
It makes life rich and poignant."

Letter from Skåne
"The USA has indeed created products
that northern Europe never even imagined,
such as Coca-Cola, the sports utility vehicle,
the barca-lounger, Microsoft Windows,
and George W. Bush."


READINGS
A Fire-Spouting Toaster
"By the 2000s, it was possible to refinance a home
with a mortgage that had a one-in-five chance
of costing a family their home and
putting them out on the street.
In fact, it wasn't just possible;
those mortgages were bursting into flames
all over the country."

The Origins of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
"Sometimes the lenders lied.
Sometimes they cheated.
Sometimes they baited a trap.
And sometimes, even when the target
figured it out, the lender just brazened it out."

Great Readings from the Past
March 4, 1933
"America had hit bottom.
The economy was broken and no one knew how to fix it.
Revolution was in the air.
Whether revolution would come from
the left of the right, no one knew."


POETRY
Bluebird
"there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?"

Great Poems of the Past
Self-Portrait
"Father was a serf, seldom came home at night.
At home my grandmother, old as
The shriveled root of leek,
And a blossoming date tree.
Big with child, Mother wanted just one apricot."


OUR NEW TITLE
The Vivesection Mambo
will be published next year.
It consists of a hundred poems
from the newly discovered
Neo-Realist School,
many reviewed here
for the first time

OUR RECENT BOOK
(Still Hot Off the Press)

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.
Here you will find all necessary information
on ordering this two-volume set,
which recently received the Kirkus star.


THE OFFICIAL RALPH
Paradox-of-the-Month


GENERAL INDEX
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.


A PITHY SAMPLE
of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy
"FOLIO"


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History
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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
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.
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Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176

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