Author Archives: Robin Bates

Smollett: Country Water over City Water

My mother is finding a necessary switch from lake water to city water psychologically difficult. Smollett’s “Humphry Clinker” helps me understand why.

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Kavanaugh as Privileged Teen

Attempted rape accusations when Brett Kavanaugh was a teen invite comparisons to another privileged teen, Tom Stark in “All the King’s Men.”

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Can Lit Save American Democracy?

Looking at an America that seemed to be falling apart and experiencing hollowness, Walt Whitman called for more literature.

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Trump Lying, Modern Day Shout-Boasting?

Mark Twain depicts the verbal art of shout boasting. Maybe Trump operates out of this tradition.

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Live in the Layers, Not on the Litter

Stanley Kunitz writes a variation of Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” that beautifully captures Yom Kippur themes.

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More People Reading Poetry

According to recent surveys, poetry is more popular than ever. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of fiction.

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Baldwin on Making Education Relevant

Baldwin’s “Essays to Teachers” reminds them of what education should really be about.

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Lucius Malfoy, Voldemort Enabler

To understand Republicans enabling Trump, imaging Lucius Malfoy enabling Voldemort.

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The U.S. Open as a Toni Morrison Novel

The tempestuous match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka reminded me of the Nel-Sula drama in Toni Morrison’s novel.

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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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