Tag Archives: World War II

A “Greatest Generation” Vet Reflects

In the reminiscence about his World War II experiences, my father finds it difficult to capture what it was really like

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

My Father Moved through Dooms of War

My father’s recollections of the D Day beaches influenced his poetry.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vonnegut’s Sci Fi Says the Unsayable

Yesterday I spent all day—from 9 am to 6 pm with occasional breaks—listening to our English majors present their senior projects. That I was energized rather than drained by the experience testifies to the strength of the talks. In today’s post I report on my student Chris Hammond’s essay on Kurt Vonnegut’s use of science […]

Posted in Vonnegut (Kurt) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring’s Triumph over War

In Henry Reed’s “Naming of Parts,” sexual spring wins out over a bureaucratic drill sergeant.

Posted in Reed (Henry) | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Lesson of War: Fear + Fear = Hate

Two Scott Bates poems get at the dark days in America following World War II.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Meaning of Soldiers and Sex

My father’s tales of soldiers’ sexual experience in World War II remind me of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”

Posted in Sir Gawain Poet | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Still Falls the (Drone-Delivered) Rain

As the U.S. steps up drone attacks, Edith Sitwell reminds us of the psychological cost to ourselves.

Posted in Sitwell (Edith) | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

World War II Internment Still Resonates

American students of color respond in powerful ways to “When the Emperor Was Divine,” Julie Otsuka’s novel about Japanese Americans’ experience in World War II internment camps.

Posted in Otsuka (Julie) | Also tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Author PTSD Led to Billy Pilgrim, Holden

It can be argued that “Slaughterhouse Five” and “Catcher in the Rye” were both shaped by their authors suffering from PTSD.

Posted in Salinger (J. D.), Vonnegut (Kurt) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “Greatest Generation” Vet Reflects

World War II vet Scott Bates remembers the war far differently from the images we have of it–not as heroic but as “people surrounded by dying men.”

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , | 5 Comments

Reading Whitman: My 15 Minutes of Fame

My 15 minutes of fame came when I read Walt Whitman’s “Oh Captain, My Captain” to the people of Slovenia. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. As today is D-Day, it seems a good time to tell the story.

Posted in Whitman (Walt) | 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