Author Archives: Robin Bates

Aretha Put a Spell on Us

Looking for a poem that captures Aretha Franklin’s power and self-confidence, I chose Lucille Clifton’s “homage to my hips.”

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What Lit Is Good For–A Debate

Thursday Tim Parks has written a provocative essay for The New York Review of Books, asking, Is literature wise? In the sense, does it help us to live? And if not, what exactly is it good for? If you follow this blog, you already know my answers: –Yes, literature is wiser than we are (and […]

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Existential Stargazing

A William Bronk star poem prompts reflection on just how little we know, even as we search for grounding.

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Dryden Had Trump’s Number

Dryden’s “Absolom and Architophel” describes unscrupulous politicians that we would find familiar today.

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When School Drives All Joy Away

School has already begun in some states, bringing to mind Blake’s lament about school in summer.

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Mourning the Loss of a Son

Longfellow turned to the story of Absolom to console a friend who had lost a son. “Chamber over the Gate” captures the grief in a supportive way.

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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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