Tag Archives: death

Mass Extinctions Followed by Life

Richard Shelton’s poem “Death” reminds us that we are part of the world that we are destroying.

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Roger Ebert’s Kinship with Whitman

In reflecting on death and dying, Roger Ebert turned to literature rather than to film.

Posted in Behan (Brendan), Bellow (Saul), James (Henry), Remi (Georges), Whitman (Walt) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death, Faustus, and a Search for Meaning

The Faustus story can aid one in an existential search for meaning.

Posted in Marlowe (Christopher) | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Hitchens: A Life Lived in Literature

Even in his final days, Christopher Hitchens was having active discussions about novels, poems and plays. He understood how much was at stake in literature.

Posted in Hitchens (Christopher) | Also tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Life in the Face of Death

Comparing the Japanese film “Departures” with “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” give special insight into the meaning of Christmas.

Posted in Sir Gawain Poet | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Wilt Thou Forgive My Sin of Fear?

Donne’s last question is whether God will forgive Donne’s lack of complete faith in Him.

Posted in Donne (John) | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Looking to Poetry for Afterlife Evidence

Spiritual Sunday It has finally sunk in with me that my friend Alan will not recover from his cancer, and I find myself wrestling once again with the questions that arose after my son drowned.  The biggest question, of course, is whether death is the end. Every Sunday in my Episcopal Church I claim that […]

Posted in Herbert (George), Rossetti (Christina) | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Singing a Lullaby to a Dead Son

From time to time I have reported on my friend Alan, who is dying of cancer but who continues to hold his head up and, to the amazement of us all, refuses to get depressed. We held another one of our salons in his honor this past Thursday. After hearing Alan report on the latest […]

Posted in Field (Eugene) | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed


  • 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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