Tag Archives: Song of Solomon

The President Who Loved Literature

In a remarkable interview with “The New York Times,” Barack Obama spoke about the importance of literature in his life. The range of his reading and the sensitivity of his responses is astounding.

Posted in Bellow (Saul), Cixin (Liu), Diaz (Junot), Flynn (Gillian), Goff (Lauren), Hemingway (Ernest), Jack Kerouac, Kerouac (Jack), Kingston (Maxine Hong), Lahiri (Jhumpa), Lee (Harper), Lessing (Doris), Mailer (Norman), Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), Morrison (Toni), Naipaul (V.S.), Robinson (Marilynne), Roth (Philip K.), Shakespeare (William), Whitehead (Colson) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toni Morrison’s Caution about Black Anger

The killer of the Dallas policemen is not unlike Guitar in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.” Through Guitar, Morrison shows how black anger is corrupted by violence. She also shows, through the novel’s protagonist (Milkman), how black resolve is stronger than anger and can soar above the earth.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mixed Feelings after Winning a Drawing

Following an unpleasant sales pitch, we opened up our envelope and discovered that we had won… Well, read the post to find out. I felt like Reba in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.”

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dante’s Love: Hot Coals Unconsumed

Solomon plays an important role in Dante’s “Paradiso” become he combines earthly sensuality and celestial wisdom. I find this to be a healthier vision than those who elevate the spirit over the body.

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

Obama Tells Black Graduates to Soar

Michelle Obama used images of flight in a recent commencement speech at Tuskegee University. It was reminiscent of the way Toni Morrison uses flight in “Song of Solomon.”

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top Post of 2014: Black Lives Matter

I repost a Toni Morrison essay on the importance of black men asserting their worth.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Toni Morrison: Stand Up & Breathe

“I can’t breathe” has become a rallying cry for Black protesters. Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” shows powerfully what it feels like to breathe again.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morrison Helps Young Black Men Stand Tall

The story of how Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” inspired one of my African American students.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Love, a Bulwark against Desolation

Toni Morrison expands St. Paul’s vision of love to include erotic love.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Leaping Off the Fiscal Cliff…and Flying

Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” has advice for Obama in the fiscal cliff confrontation: Leap!

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Austen Romance for Dems and GOP?

It proved easy to apply the election to Toni Morrison and Jane Austen in my classes.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Morrison’s Novel Shaped the President

“Song of Solomon,” one of Obama’s favorite books, yield important insights into him and his African American supporters.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , | 6 Comments

Obama as a Toni Morrison Character

Perhaps some of the conservative antipathy to Obama is because he is seen as just taking over when he promised to work for social justice.

Posted in Morrison (Toni), Wilmot (John) | Also tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Poetry to Read at a Hippy Wedding

Today is my wedding anniversary so you get to hear how I wove poetry into the ceremony. W. B. Yeats, Archibald MacLeish, D.H. Lawrence, and the Song of Solomon all made appearances. Get ready for time travel back to a very different era.

Posted in Bible, Lawrence (D. H.), MacLeish (Archibald), Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Schools Cowed by the Religious Right

Holly Blumner had a vision. A member of the St. Mary’s theater department, Holly wanted to stage Susan Zeder’s Mother Hicks, a adolescent girl’s identity quest, and then take it into area schools. This post is the story about how rightwing groups have so terrified our schools that the vision died.

Posted in Zeder (Susan) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Is Father-Son Conflict Inevitable?

I had an interesting conversation with my two sons yesterday as we drove them and my daughter-in-law to the Portland airport, marking the beginning of the end of our summer vacation.  The conversation began with me wondering why there weren’t works of literature that accurately capture the kind of father-son relationship that I feel that […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Favorite Books of American Presidents

I’ve had fun discussing the reading of Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas over the last couple of days, and while I’ve come up dry on further posts about the Supreme Court and literature, it has given me the idea of periodically dipping into reading stories of other political figures. I’ll start a list here, beginning […]

Posted in Alexander (Elizabeth), Angelou (Maya), Bible, Camus (Albert), Carle (Eric), Dickey (James), Fleming (Ian), Frost (Robert), Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), Morrison (Toni), O'Neill (Joseph), Robinson (Edward Arlington), Service (Robert), Sheridan (Richard), Stendahl, Tolstoy (Leo), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Empowering Conversations about Race

As I look back over this past week of entries, what conclusions can I draw? First, that literature can serve the cause of race relations in this country. The friendship between Huck and Jim spurred my dreams of black-white friendship when I was a child being raised in segregated schools in the south, and it […]

Posted in Morrison (Toni), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

When I Defended Song of Solomon

I think it was 13 years ago or so when I read in our county newspaper that a high school student was objecting to a book he had been assigned to read in an Advanced Placement English class. The book was Toni’s Morrison’s Pulitzer-winning Song of Solomon, a book on the Advanced Placement list, and […]

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

  • 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