Author Archives: Robin Bates

Nourish the Refugee Angels

Thursday To defend the Trump Administration’s unconscionable actions on the U.S.-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen dodged and weaved as the House of Representatives grilled her yesterday. Disregarding conditions that a number of Congress members had witnessed with their own eyes, she insisted that children are not being taken away from their parents and […]

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Children’s Choirs, Vienna’s and Blake’s

Wednesday Last Friday I was able to see in person the Vienna Children’s choir, which previously I knew only from their recordings. As I listened to the high, pure voices in Sewanee’s cathedral-like All Saints Chapel, I thought of William Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence. The poem has some of Blake’s characteristic irony, […]

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Trump Is Dracula, Cohen Is Renfield

Tuesday Though I’ve compared Donald Trump several times to Dr. Frankenstein’s monster (for instance, here), New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has compared the Trump saga to another monster story that I hadn’t considered. Michael Cohen, she writes, is Renfield to Trump’s Dracula. Renfield is a Dracula acolyte who has been imprisoned as a madman, […]

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Exposing Stalin-Style Fake News

Monday NeverTrumper Jennifer Rubin made a Stalin allusion on MSNBC’s A. M. Joy yesterday that caught my eye because I am currently reading a novel about Stalin’s Soviet Union during the German invasion. Vasily Grossman’s extraordinary Life and Fate (1960), resembles Tolstoy’s War and Peace in the way it captures the country at a moment […]

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Living Glory Full of Truth and Grace

Spiritual Sunday Today’s church readings are about, as Paul puts it in his First Letter to the Corinthians, seeing God face to face rather than “through a glass darkly.” We hear first about how Moses, after receiving the Ten Commandments, returned to the Israelites with his face so lit up that he had to wear […]

Posted in Guite (Malcolm), Pound (Ezra) | Leave a comment

Mrs. Dalloway and the Gift of Aging

Friday My wife Julia alerted me to a luminescent Atlantic article about women disappearing as they grow older. Although some regard this as a problem, author Akiko Busch draws on Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to show how women can turn it to their advantage. First, the apparent problem. When women are treated as objects, they […]

Posted in Le Guin (Ursula K), Woolf (Virginia) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Wilmot Sums Up Current GOP

Thursday One of the interchanges in Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Investigation Committee yesterday jumped out at me because it had such an 18th century flavor to it. Kentucky Republican James Comer, seeking to undermine Cohen, challenged him with the following: Comer: “You called Trump a cheat. What would you call yourself?” […]

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Chaucer’s Friar and Abusive Clergy

Wednesday Like many, I had hopes that Pope Francis’s Vatican meeting on clergy sexual abuse would yield something substantial, and like many I have been disappointed. The pope, according to the New York Times, decided that the best way for the church to address the problem lay not in issuing an edict from Rome but […]

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Brexit or Never Let Me Go?

Tuesday I see there is a glimmer of hope in the United Kingdom (albeit a very tiny one) as Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has dropped his opposition to a second referendum on Brexit, even though he himself supposedly wants out. This means that a possibility at least exists that Brits can reverse their catastrophic, […]

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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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