Monthly Archives: October 2017

How Moliere Is Saving France

Moliere is helping French PM Macron steer a sane middle road between rightwing and leftwing purists.

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Is Atwood’s Dystopia America’s Future?

Atwood lays out the social devastation that can arise from extreme climate events in “Year of the Flood.” Some of her predictions are starting to come true.

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Trump, 4 Dead Soldiers, & Col. Cathcart

Trump handled the death of the four Green Berets who died in Niger like Col. Cathcart in “Catch-22” would have. A better model would be Ned Stark in “Game of Thrones.”

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Three Poems for Surviving Trump

Hope is needed in the face to emotional exhaustion over Trumpism. Here are three poems about finding hope in dark times.

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GOP Releases Catch-22 on Gun Control

To avoid doing anything about the bump stock that Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used, the GOP has invoked Catch-22.

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A Positive Spin on the Golden Calf

Rabbi Jacob Staub’s account of the golden calf is much different, and a lot more fun, than the Exodus version.

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How Nazis Used Art’s Soft Power

Hitler and Mussolini took the arts seriously and tried to use them to extend their power. They had mixed results.

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Will Warm Days Never Cease?

Changes in climate can cause us to see classic poems in a new light. Case in point: Keats’s “To Autumn.”

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Brother Fire Ravages California

Louis MacNeice captures what northern California is experiencing in “Brother Fire.” The poem also reveals a disturbing dark side in how we respond to catastrophe.

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Literature’s Revolutionary Power

The concept of “unleashing,” used to explain much of today’s upheaval, can also be applied to literature that changes lives.

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Las Vegas: Our Killers, Ourselves

As a white man, the Las Vegas shooter could not be fitted into an easy right wing Other narrative. “Beowulf” shows how monsters generally look like us.

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Visit Puerto Rico with Wings of Healing

Read through hurricane-weary eyes, Coleridge’s “Dejection: An Ode” promises soulful hope.

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If Fielding Had Written about Trump

Henry Fielding would have had a field day writing about America’s president.

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Wordsworth and a Depressed Philosopher

When utilitarian John Stuart Mill’s philosophy led him into despair, Wordsworth’s poetry saved him.

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Assertive Women Drive Lear, Trump Mad

Lear is driven mad by his assertive daughters. Are strong women like the San Juan mayor also sending Trump around the bend?

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The NRA, Preying on Anxious White Men

The NRA is implicated in the ease by which the Las Vegas shooter acquired an arsenal of automatic weapons. This Scott Bates poem calls the organization out.

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While the President Golfed…

Sarah Cleghorn’s famous poem “The Golf Links” captures our president, who golfs while Puerto Rico starves.

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May We Sail without Giving into Our Fears

A Noah’s Ark poem by the great Syrian poet Adonis can be applied to the Puerto Rico rescue effort, especially as certain people on the right attempt to inject race into the affair.

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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