IS THE MOON THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE? A Reassessment of Many Things in Humorous Verse

Sabrina P. Ramet
Scarith, 2017
166 Pages, 7 Illustrations by Christine M. Hassenstab
ISBN 978-0-9981477-9-6 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Sabrina Ramet is an American humorist and political science professor, who has been teaching, since 2001, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  In addition to writing 13 scholarly books and editing or co-editing 36 scholarly books, she is also the author of a novel (Café Bombshell:  The International Brain Surgery Conspiracy) and four previous volumes of humorous verse: Pets of the Great Dictators and other Works; Cheese Pirates; Make Marzipan, not War; and History of Russia & the Soviet Union in Humorous Verse.

About the book

Is the Moon the Center of the Universe? is a collection of mostly humorous verse rooted in an appreciation of the absurd and the ridiculous.  A few of the verses take their cue from real persons, such as “The secret history of Duncan MacDougall”, who hoped to prove the existence of the soul by weighing dying patients just before and just after death, or “Mad Anthony Wayne”, a verse very loosely based on the life of an officer in the American Revolutionary Army, or again “Church-run brothels”, which actually existed in the 1300s and 1400s.  Most of the verses are, however, pure fiction.  These range from the play on astronomers’ notion that “The universe is expanding” to suggest that my neighbor’s house is, by that virtue, gradually moving away from mine, to the kleptomaniac in “In the confessional”, who confesses to the priest that he has stolen the church’s altar, to the playful “On Dumpledy-Down”, to the paranoid ravings of “Should I be concerned”, in which the speaker worries about neighbors having plastic surgery so that they can look just like him.  A few of the verses in the collection were inspired by news stories, such as the verse “Don’t you be sexing, here in Uganda”.  Several of them are set to well-known tunes such as “Deck the halls with boughs of fungus”, “Yo-ho yo, a professor’s life for me”, “Father Christmas and Mr. Holly” (set to the tune of “God rest ye merry gentlemen”), “Dental work in Tijuana” (set to the tune of “White Christmas”), and “Gonna ride the big one soon” (set to the tune of “Dream a little dream of me”).  Whether you are wondering if your mother is a virgin or looking for life on golf balls on one of Jupiter’s moons or wanting to catch your neighbor in the act of worshiping your dog, this collection packs in enough hilarious lunacy to send any reader into paroxysms of laughter.


“I laughed out loud as I read Sabrina Ramet’s outrageously funny and truly wise poems. I’ll be religiously following the “secrets of long life” and yes, Virginia, cats absolutely do have a soul.”

—Susan McEachern, Editorial Director, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

“There are no limits to Ramet’s zany humor as she covers everything from psychiatry and astronomy to ‘cheese-bread and tea’!  The rhymes are magical and quite unexpected.  She even suggests well-known tunes that the verses can be sung to. What’s not to like?”

—Cathie Carmichael, Professor of History, University of East Anglia

“Is the Moon the Center of the Universe? is a collection of poems with quite broad width and depth, covering wittily and often in rhyme themes associated with astronomy, mold, travel, Christmas, children’s rhymes, history, animals, superheroes, and politics and media. Current events are as much part of this work as are historic figures and events, such as Pancho Villa and Leif Ericson. For me, the poems associated with religion are the most humorous and provocative of this collection. For example, “Church-run brothels” describes the religious curiosity of Catholic houses of prostitution in Central Europe in the 14th and 15th century aiming, strangely, at promoting heterosexuality and Christianity. I highly recommend this fun and smart collection.”

—Barbara Franz, Professor of Political Science, Rider University