Category Archives: Uncategorized

Poetry Comforts the Mentally Disabled

This “New York Times” article describes how poetry came to the aid of a man with schizoaffective disorder. It also aided his therapist.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry that Reclaims Women’s Bodies

A former student, in her senior project, used feminist poems as the basis for art workshops designed to help women feel better about their bodies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Lit Blind As Well as Enlighten?

Novelist Rachel Kranz argues that great literature does not only enlighten. It can also keep us from seeing certain possibilities.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Journey of the Reader Hero

Reading literature can be compared to Joseph Campbell’s “Journey of the Hero.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cross Recounts the Crucifixion

“Dream of the Rood” tells the story of the crucifixion from the cross’ point of view.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spend Valentine’s Day with a Novel

As you look ahead to Valentine’s Day tomorrow, consider which literary character you would most like to pair up with.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can Lit Make the Rich More Empathetic?

With growing income disparity comes a decline in empathy. Literature can help rebuild our compassion.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And God Said, “That’s Good”

James Weldon Johnson’s version of the Genesis creation story accords with some contemporary theological theories of God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports Saturday has been suspended. I will continue to blog from time to time on sports and sports-related issues  but there will no longer be a special Saturday feature.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge

The Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge is attracting some of my students.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Belichick Ranks with Lit’s Great Plotters

Coach Bill Belichick resembles the nefarious plotters in such works as “Portrait of a Lady” and “Liaisons Dangereuses.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Often Goes Christ in a Stranger’s Guise

Here’s an old Gaelic poem that captures the spirit of the president’s recent decision to grant relief to the undocumented parents of American citizens.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Writer Walks into a Starbucks…

Literary Starbucks is an entertain blog that imagines different authors and characters ordering coffee.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Using Kipling to Voice Despair

Roger Cohen of the New York Times turns to a Kipling poem to express his despair about the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Are College Students Sheep?

William Deresiewicz’s recent book “Excellent Sheep” may make the same mistake as other books about college: generalize about students.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Is Poetry in Decline? Nope

A New York Times columnist laments the decline of poetry. Here’s why he’s full of it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to Compile a Summer Reading List

Any reading list will be to some extent arbitrary. Here are some thoughts about compiling such a list.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Haikus Make Econ Less Dismal

Haiku competitions in economics classes can get students engaged in the otherwise dry subject matter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Websites for Literature Lovers

I’m currently inundated with students essays and so am not posting an essay today, referring you instead to Flavor Wire’s “25 Best Websites for Literature Lovers.” (Thanks to Rachel Kranz for alerting me to it.) Some of these websites I visit regularly (like the New Yorker’s “Page Turner”) and some I’m learning about for the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

In Defense of Arcane Scholarship

Disciplines may engage in arcane language but they provide the foundation out of which exciting insights emerge.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How Is Lit Useful? Let Me Count the Ways

A recent issue of “New Literary History” explores a number of ways that literature is useful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Close Reading Leads to Superior People

Recent brain search gives more evidence on the vital necessity of reading literature.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Lit’s Ten Most Likable Characters

My top ten likable characters.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The 10 Most Unreliable Narrators

Here’s a list of some of literature’s great unreliable narrators.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Science Speaks: Lit Makes You Smart

The science is in: great literature makes you emotionally smarter.

Also posted in Erdrich (Louise) | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Wood Tick’s Holy Grail Quest

Only an imaginative biologist like David Haskell would compare wood ticks with Camelot knights..

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Poems on Mayweather, Manziel, Rivera

“The Daily Sports Poem” blog has poems that perfectly capture a wide range of sporting events.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Light Verse Honoring Wimbledon Finalists

A new “Sports Poem” blog features lyrics about tennis players Murray, Djokovic, and del Potro.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Ain’t gonna let the SC turn me ’round

The Supreme Court’s assault on the Voting Rights Act means we may have to break out the old freedom songs again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Please, Writers–More Complex Narratives

Sports narratives that look only at winning and losing are simplistic and misleading.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Teaching Lit as a Public Mission

Teaching at a public liberal arts colleges shapes has influenced how I approach literature.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • 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.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete