Monthly Archives: August 2018

A Final Resting Place on the Shore

Friday Yesterday Julia and I buried the ashes of writer Rachel Kranz, a dear friend who died a year ago. Her remains were divided between three who were close to her, and I chose to bury those allotted to me on the shore of Lake Eva, which sits on the edge of a bluff in […]

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National Inquirer, Political Sewage

“National Inquirer” is in trouble for having conspired to bury article critical of Donald Trump. Alexander Pope described such publications in “The Dunciad.”

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Poetry Was Used to Bolster the Lost Cause

When the Silent Sam statue was erected in 1913, a speech associated it with defending white womanhood and quoted Tennyson.

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The Novels that Shaped John McCain

McCain’s favorite novels included “Great Gatsby,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Huckleberry Finn,” and works by Somerset Maugham. One can understand why.

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How Dangerous Is a Little Learning?

Pope’s “a little learning” seems dangerous at first glance but the alternative is not entirely attractive.

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I Might Come To Please Him Yet

Richard Wilbur uses proofreading terms to convey God’s mercy in “The Proof.”

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Homage to My Father, a Reader

Friday Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of my father’s death. To remember him, I share one of his poems about reading. My father read to my brothers and me virtually every night when we were growing up, passing along a passion that became our own. In “The Retiring Candle,” he imagines an introverted candle retreating […]

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On Mac the Knife & Presidential Pardons

Trump, like Mac the Knife, is an escape artist extraordinaire. Might a presidential pardon save him as a reprieve saves Mac?

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What Is Truth? Cowper’s Beautiful Answer

In the face of Trump’s constant lying, we need William Cowper, who reminds us of the sanctity of truth.

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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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