Monthly Archives: January 2012

Growing More Liberal as We Age

Frost may allude to the belief that we become more conservative as we age, but his own poetry refutes the claim.

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Jilted by Your Fiancé? Turn to Austen

A student distraught when her fiance dropped her used Jane Austen’s ironic wit in “Sense and Sensibility” to regain perspective and reenter the world.

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Twilight, Evening Bell, After That the Dark

I share Tennyson’s wonderful poem “Crossing the Bar” in memory of an old Navy friend who died this past week.

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Choose, GOP: Rich Mobster or Sleazy Pimp

Columnist Jonathan Chait compares the current battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for GOP voters to the love triangle in the Scorsese film “Casino.”

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Fight Like Hell Till You Get to Heaven

A Scott Bates poem about Mother Jones may be timely as we see the rise of a leftwing populism.

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Dear Frustrated in Love: Read a Classic

Literature is better than any self help book for relationship guidance.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Garcia Marquez (Gabriel), Virgil | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will GOP Base Play the Sap Yet Again?

Is the Republican establishment simply exploiting its base, like Tom (in “Mill on the Floss”) exploits Maggie and as Brigid O’Shaughnessy (in “The Maltese Falcon”) tries to exploit Sam Spade?

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Newt Gingrich, Shades of The Wasteland

Newt Gingrich reminds me of “the young man carbuncular” in “The Wasteland,” “one of the low on whom assurance sits as a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.”

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With Me Stood a Rescued Throng

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s poem “Fishers of Men” invokes Jesus’s words to Peter as she appears to talk about her work on behalf of slaves.

Posted in Harper (Frances Ellen Watkins) | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


  • 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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