Category Archives: Kranz (Rachel)

Remembering Rachel: Joyous, Pulsing

In a memorial service for my friend Rachel Kranz, I will talk about what her novels reveal about her.

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Rachel Kranz, R. I. P.

When my best friend Rachel Kranz died yesterday. I turned to Shelley’s “Adonais” for comfort.

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RIP, GOP Insurance Plan

Rachel Kranz composed the following piece of doggerel in honor of the GOP Insurance Plan to Obamacare, “a.k.a.: RIP.”

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Prisons, America’s Growth Industry

At long last, some politicians from both parties are beginning to express concern over America’s world-leading incarceration rate. Rachel Kranz raised the alarm 16 years ago in her novel “Leaps of Faith.”

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Work Makes Us Soar, Money Not So Much

In her novel “Leaps fo Faith,” Rachel Kranz helps us understand what work means to us. Citing Marx, she notes that work helps us express our essence but that, when it becomes part of the cash nexus, we find ourselves alienated from it.

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Kranz & Muriel Spark on Insulting the Aged

Today I share a poker post from my 61-year-old novelist and poker playing friend Rachel Kranz, about the indignities of being called “young lady” while at the poker table. Muriel Spark similarly objects to the indignities heaped upon those who are aging in her novel “Memento Mori.”

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Envy, the Sin That Blinds

In this week’s poker essay by novelist Rachel Kranz, envy is described as the one deadly sin that gives no pleasure at all.

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How Poker Resembles Novel Writing

Playing poker involves taking constant risks. But so does a life well-lived and, for that matter, so does writing a novel. Novelist Rachel Kranz explains.

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Same Sex Marriage–Good but Not Enough

Rachel Kranz’s “Leaps of Faith” affirms same-sex marriage but questions prioritizing it over other GLBT issues.

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Solidarity No Longer Forever in Michigan

Rachel Kranz’s “Leaps of Faith” provides a vision of unions that are needed in the face of GOP attacks.

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Self Respect through Collective Action

Novelist Rachel Kranz shows workers finding a sense of self respect through union action.

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Enough with Fixating on Female Sexuality

Rachel Kranz’s fiction shows how to step up with acquaintances use offensive sexist language.

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In Life as in Poker, Trust What You Know

Novelist Rachel Kranz talks about trust, both in poker and novel writing. Once you have the knowledge and the skill, she says, what remains is trusting yourself.

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The Immigrant’s Choice

Adrienne Rich has a well-known poem that is powerful in large part because it captures, simply and directly, the immigrant’s plight. Rich depicts immigration as a stark choice—either one goes through the door or one doesn’t. The decision has immense ramifications, both positive and negative.

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Novelists, Poker Players Must Be Relentless

Sports Saturday I’m written out this week so do yourself a favor and hie thee to some of the best writing about poker that I know.  You don’t have to play the game to enjoy the writing of my novelist friend Rachel Kranz, who I’ve mentioned numerous times  Her website is called Adventures in Poker, […]

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We Shall Not Be Moved

I have to give the American far right an award for chutzpa: somehow they have managed to turn every one of their failures into an attack point. A schizophrenic student buys a glock and turns it on a Congresswoman, a child, and others in a shopping mall? Use this as an argument that we need […]

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Steinbeck’s Agony (A Reminder to Chill)

My novelist friend Rachel Kranz recently sent me an article by novelist William Kennedy about John Steinbeck’s self-doubts as a writer. She herself has been wrestling with self-doubts, even though she has a completed manuscript of what I think is a remarkable work, and the article lets her know that she is not alone. It […]

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Yes, Doubters, Lit Packs a Punch

Last week a couple of readers questioned, quite rightly, my sympathetic posting of the following quotation by Polish poet and essayist Zbigniew Herbert: History does not know a single example of art or an artist anywhere ever exerting a direct influence on the world’s destiny – and from this sad truth follows the conclusion that […]

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Poker Adventures of a New York Novelist

Sports Saturday This past week my novelist friend Rachel Kranz was visiting after having busted out of the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. She made it to Day 4 (out of 9), which was pretty good considering that she has only been playing for three years. Still she was upset, as good […]

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So You Want to Tell Your Story . . .

Balthus My friend Rachel Kranz, author of the novel Leaps of Faith, is visiting us at the moment, and we were talking about the number of times that people approach her about writing a book about their lives. As they envision it, they will tell her their stories and she will write them up. We […]

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Same-Sex Marriage, a Leap of Faith

Rachel Kranz My novelist friend Rachel Kranz is currently in Maine campaigning with gay friends to save same-sex marriage against attempts to ban it. I mention this because her first novel, Leaps of Faith, is the most intelligent fictional exploration of same-sex marriage that I know. Among the differences between politics and fiction is the […]

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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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