Monthly Archives: September 2020

Autumn, a Time to Reflect

For Mary Oliver, autumn is a time to reflect.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Heart of Darkness as Military Manual

According to this military officer, “Heart of Darkness” provides a warning about what ill-conceived military incursions can do to servicemen and women.

Posted in Conrad (Joseph) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Birthday Wishes at 95

For my mother’s 95th birthday, I turn to Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 73” to express my continuing love.

Posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Treachery at the Justice Department

Anne Perry’s “Treachery at Lancaster Gate” seems to be about the 19th century but describes Barr’s corruption of the Department of Justice only too well.

Posted in Perry (Anne) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May God’s Love Be Taught in Jerusalem

Grace Shulman’s Yom Kippur poem imagines Israelis and Arab Palestinians coming together so that Jerusalem can truly become a city of peace.

Posted in Ali (Agha Shadid), Schulman (Grace) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Spying, in Austen and at Colleges

In “Northanger Abbey,” Tilney startles us with his use of the word “spies.” Spying has become one means that universities are using to combat Covid outbreaks.

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Lotus Poem for Kamala

Because Kamala means lotus in Sanskrit, I share this Scott Bates lotus poem. Kamala was associated with the fertility goddess Lakshmi and America could use some fertility at the moment.

Posted in Bates (Scott), Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pratchett’s Solution to Police Violence

Wednesday That Breonna Taylor’s family is receiving a $12 million settlement and the promise of police reform following her wrongful shooting by Louisville police is in part a testimony to Black Lives Matters protests and other instances of public pressure. Without them, we might not even know her name. With that in mind, I return […]

Posted in Pratchett (Terry) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Overlook 200,000 Deaths

Donne’s “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” captures why America might be overlooking 200,000 deaths at the moment.

Posted in Donne (John) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a 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.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!