Monthly Archives: April 2016

I Am the Dance and the Dance Goes On

At my eldest son’s funeral 16 years ago we sang “The Lord of the Dance.” Justin was a joyous dancer and I imagine him dancing somewhere, in some plane, whenever I hear the hymn.

Posted in Carter (Sydney) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fencing People Out & Spiritual Desolation

In her novel “Ceremony,” Leslie Marmon Silko has a vision of spiritual desolation caused when we build fences to keep other people out.

Posted in Silko (Leslie Marmon) | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fantasy To Cope with Adult Pressures

James Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy” was forged out of the intense resentment of a boy who was forced to grow up too early.

Posted in Barrie (James) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Euripides Explains Anti-LGBTQ Votes

The North Carolina state legislature recently passed anti-LBGTQ legislation which, among other things, forbids transgender individuals from using the bathrooms of their chosen gender identity. Euripides provides some insight into hostility against crossdressers in “The Bacchae.”

Posted in Euripides | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Kind of Light Spread Out from Her

John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” contributed to the naming of my latest granddaughter.

Posted in Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Harriet Tubman Didn’t Take No Stuff

In honor of Harriet Tubman as the first woman and first African American to appear on U.S. currency, here are poems honoring her by Eloise Greenfield and Lucille Clifton.

Posted in Clifton (Lucille), Greenfield (Eloise) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Death & Miracles & Stars without Number

In Norman Finkelstein’s account of the Passover, death and miracles are bound up together. It is an uneasy combination, calling upon us to look at our own complicity in the world’s evils.

Posted in Finkelstein (Norman) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

In One of the Stars, Prince Will Be Living

A passage from Saint-Exupéry’s “Little Prince” provides an appropriate eulogy for Prince, the rock musician who died yesterday at 59.

Posted in Saint-Exupéry (Antoine) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Beauty in Ravaged Landscapes

In “Gift of Gravity,” Wendell Berry finds beauty even in ravaged landscapes. But is there a limit to how much of a devastated landscape he could learn to love?

Posted in Berry (Wendell) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • 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!