Monthly Archives: February 2014

Using Lit to Predict the Weather

Last week, while discussing “The Tempest,” we experienced a literal tempest. Expect cold temperatures today as I’m teaching “Eve of St. Agnes.”

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Prospero’s Magic, a Model for Fantasy Lit

“The Tempest” fits magically into a fantasy course.

Posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Memorializing Gay Martyrs in Poetry

Uganda’s new anti-gay legislation reminds me of a Mark Doty poem about a Bangor, Maine killing 30 years ago.

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In Defense of Arcane Scholarship

Disciplines may engage in arcane language but they provide the foundation out of which exciting insights emerge.

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“Everybody Wants a Black Man’s Life”

Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” offers a vision of hope for targeted black teens.

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Cain: A Positive Way Past Collective Guilt

Nazi perpetrators who turned to Christianity avoided true contrition. Both the story of Cain and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” show how to really get right with God.

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Women Hockey Players in a State of Nature

A Robert Bly prose poem about hockey to celebrate the exciting Olympics metal rounds.

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The Super Rich: Great Gatsby Redux

Many of today’s billionaires are as paranoid as Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby.”

Posted in Fitzgerald (F. Scott) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Out of Denialism and into Responsibility

Denialism such as we are seeing with regard to climate change is well describe in “All the King’s Men.”

Posted in Warren (Robert Penn) | Tagged , , , | 5 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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