Tag Archives: Illness

Once There Was Light

I turned to Jane Kenyon’s “Having It Out with Melancholy” when a friend’s illness suddenly took a turn for the worse.

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Clifton Poems Make Connection Possible

In a recent event honoring the memory of Lucille Clifton, poet Toi Derricotte read a poem about how Clifton’s poetry opened up a relationship with the mother of a sick child. Here I share Derricotte’s poem as well as the poems she read to the mother and examine why they had the effect they did.

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For Hillary, Witch Hunts Never End

Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post alludes to Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” as she wonders whether Hillary Clinton should be subjected to witch trials to figure out what’s wrong with her.

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Crohn’s Disease and the Mariner’s Agony

A student with Crohn’s disease found a kindred soul in Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner.

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Wheezles and Sneezles

Like my literary namesake, I’ve had wheezles and sneezles for the past five days.

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Where Are the Toys of Yesteryear?

Where are the toys of yesteryear? Such is the lament of this poem by Scott Bates.

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God Does Not Leave Us Comfortless

As my father struggles to retain his memory, I think of Jonathan Swift.

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My Father in the Hospital

A Mary Oliver poems captures my fears about my father, currently hospitalized.

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A Bulimic Sees Herself in Milton’s Satan

One of my students who suffers from bulimia finds her condition mirrored in Satan’s rebellion against God.

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When You’re Sick, Call the Musketeers

I seldom get sick but, when I do, I become a wimp. Generally my illnesses take the form of stabbing sinus pain, and I retreat into a cocoon of misery and imagine myself about to die. As is appropriate for my melodramatic self pity, my mind invariably fixates upon a literary scene composed during France’s […]

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Swollen Hemingways? See a Doctorow

Terence Winch    As we move into the flu season, here’s a fun poem that can speak to our anxieties about the H1N1 virus.  It imagines a whole host of literary stalwarts involved in the illness.  The poem is by the Irish American poet Terence Winch.  Thanks to my father Scott Bates, himself a wonderful writer […]

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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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