Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Breathing Palace of Leaves

Many of Mary Oliver’s nature poems enact a version of the crucifixion and resurrection.

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Chicago’s Harpies Take Down LeBron

The thuggish way that the Chicago Bulls ended the Miami Heat’s streak recalls Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “harpies of the shore.”

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The Tragicomedy of High School Dating

“She Stoops to Conquer” captures all the pain of adolescent dating failures.

Posted in Goldsmith (Oliver) | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Drones Put Heaven in a Rage

This Scott Bates poem protesting aerial killing machines could apply to today’s drone program.

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Hell Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Literature is strewn with hot hells and cold hells. A “New Yorker” article lists a number of them.

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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.

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Life as a Stage Coach Ride

America is in many ways like the stage coach rides described by Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding.

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Palms before My Feet

This Chesterton poems recounts Palm Sunday from the donkey’s point of view.

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The Zen of Athletic Greatness

An old Taoist poem may capture some of the seemingly effortless transcendence of the greatest athletes.

Posted in Tzu (Chuang) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment


  • 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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