Tag Archives: Freedom

I Will Write Your Name, Liberté

Friday With July 4th fireworks still ringing in my ears, I share Paul Eluard’s poem “Liberté,” which was written during World War II. Copies were dropped by the British Air Force into parts of Nazi-occupied Europe with the design of rallying the resistance. Early on during his rise to power, Hitler ordered books to be […]

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Poetry & the Sea Liberate the Imprisoned

For Pablo Neruda’s, the “poet’s obligation” is to speak for freedom–which makes poetry vital important in our time.

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Is Freedom More Powerful than Fear?

Obama in his Oval Office speech on terrorism said that “freedom is more powerful than fear.” Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor would beg to differ.

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The Jordan River Continues to Inspire

The River Jordan, an inspiring image for American slaves, has worked it was into contemporary African American poems, including those of Lucille Clifton.

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Two Parables Involving Falling Leaves

Scott Bates and Lucille Clifton find poetic lessons in falling leaves.

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More Frightening than Arrest, Freedom

Levertov’s poem about Peter escaping prison confronts existential issues of freedom

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The President Is Reading Novels? Good!

Rightwing attacks on Obama for including novels in his summer reading are all wrong. We want our presidents to be balanced and grounded, and good fiction helps one remember what is really important in life.

Posted in Franzen (Jonathan), Huxley (Aldous), Verghese (Abraham) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Freedom (a.k.a. Irresponsibility)

Jonathan’s Franzen’s “Freedom” is written in the John Cheever-John Updike-Tom Wolfe-Don DeLillo tradition, an up-close look at American middle class culture. But it leaves out some of the heroic struggles that are going on.

Posted in Franzen (Jonathan) | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments


  • 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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