Monthly Archives: March 2010

A Poem for Those that Feel Unloveable

I can think of no better poet to move us into Holy Week than George Herbert, a 17th century Anglican rector who wrestled mightily with a sense of his unworthiness. In his poetry, Herbert is determined to be as honest about his doubts as possible.  He is not a facile Christian.  When he believes that […]

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Maurine Holbert Hogaboom Exits Stage Left

Yesterday a good friend died. Her name was Maurine Holbert Hogaboom and she was 98. If you want to read about her amazing life—how she journeyed to New York from rural Texas as a member of a burlesque troupe, how she found a living in the theatre, how she was called up before the House […]

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How to Respond to Tea Party Rage

Leslie Marmon Silko  This week we celebrate both Passover and Easter, and the world, as it was during the original Passover meal and then again when Jesus celebrated it under Roman rule, is still filled with rage. The weekend newspapers were filled with stories of Tea Party anger, which is being directed at the recent […]

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March Madness, Lightning Strike or Slog?

Sports Saturday Once again March Madness is gripping America.  Once again we see Cinderella teams upsetting the giants (Northern Iowa upsetting top-seeded Kansas, Butler upsetting mighty Syracuse) and games won or lost on remarkable shots made in the waning seconds (Murray State, Michigan State).  Maryland, the team I was rooting for, made a miraculous last […]

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Slasher Films and Liberated Women

Janet Leigh in Psycho      Film Friday Last week when I was giving a series of lectures on “women and film” at the University of Ljubljana, I devoted one of my talks to (of all things) the slasher film.  Below is a shortened version of that talk: A key work in feminist approaches to film is […]

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Republican Invective and King Lear

One of the memorable moments in the history of the U.S. Congress occurred in 1954 when Joseph Welch, head counsel for the United States Army, found one of his young lawyers being attacked by Joseph McCarthy.  The turning point in the hearings occurred when Welch said forthrightly, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I have […]

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Up in the Air, Then Back to Earth

George Clooney, Up in the Air  The wonderful opportunity I had last week to deliver a series of lectures in Ljubljana (Slovenia) has me thinking about why it seems to be more satisfying to teach elsewhere than at home. In Slovenia, everything was fresh and exciting. In America, I feel inundated by worries and obligations. What […]

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Innocents Abroad (in Slovenia)

Ljubljana        I spent last week delivering a series of lectures in my adopted second home, Ljubljana, Slovenia.  Ljubljana is the city where I spent two year-long Fulbright professorships.  I have friends in the English and philosophy departments at the University of Ljubljana, as well as at the two international schools located within the Slovene school system.  […]

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Lochinvar Obama Rides to the Rescue

Barack Obama has pulled off his greatest victory and has brought (near) universal health care to America.  Last night the House of Representatives approved the Senate bill, and once Obama signs the final result, universal coverage will be the law of the land.  To be sure, some drama remains.  It is understood that the Senate will amend the bill […]

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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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