Tag Archives: Rachel Kranz

Remembering Rachel: Joyous, Pulsing

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

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rachel Kranz, R. I. P.

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

Posted in Kranz (Rachel), Shelley (Percy) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

Women Who Refuse To Be Broken

There are certain poets who appear indomitable and, in their confident affirmations of life, inspire the rest of us. Lucille Clifton was one of these poets.

Posted in Clifton (Lucille) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.”

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.”

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.”

Posted in Kranz (Rachel), Spark (Muriel) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel), Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

Women vs. Unicorns in Poker, on Dates

In an blog post on the difficulties of handling male aggression, novelist Rachel Kranz looks at male behavior at poker tables, the mythology of virgins taming unicorns, and the rape perpetrated by Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

Posted in White (T.H.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , | Leave a comment

Self Respect through Collective Action

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

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

Enough with Fixating on Female Sexuality

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

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

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.

Posted in Kranz (Rachel), Yezierska (Anzia) | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

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, […]

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , | Comments closed

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 […]

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

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 […]

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

Is There a Price for Doing Evil?

In a dinner conversation with academic colleagues and novelist Rachel Kranz, we grappled with the question of whether those who commit atrocities pay a price for doing so. I came to the conclusion that it is a question that novelists and poets are sometimes better at answering than academics.

Posted in Brecht (Bertolt) | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

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 […]

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

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 […]

Posted in Kranz (Rachel) | Also tagged , | Comments closed

Now for Something Completely Different

Georgia O’Keefe This past week I seem to have taken as a challenge Elaine Scarry’s observation (in The Body in Pain) that representations of physical pain in literature are rare. Two more I add to the list are the Blake professor in Gail Godwin’s The Good Husband, who is dying of cancer, and Rosie, the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trusting that Good Can Come from Ill

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus What have I learned about literature and pain this past week? First, that writers have taken up the topic, just as they take up every aspect of human existence. They imagine what it is like to feel pain and, through poetic images and fictional stories, convey that experience to readers. By entering […]

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

Through Novels We Practice Being Human

    My friend Rachel Kranz and I have been talking and e-mailing about the value of novel reading, always a useful topic to revisit.  Rachel is as thoughtful as anyone I know on the subject—she is a novelist as well as a novel reader so she has a double perspective.  Leaps of Faith (Farrar […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 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.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

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

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete