Tag Archives: William Blake

A Star Has Fallen, to Blossom from a Tomb

John Heath-Stubbs’s “On the Nativity” is one of my favorite Christmas poems.

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Lit that Championed Chimney Sweeps

Watching modern chimney sweeps at work, I’m relieved that we’ve left behind the days of William Blake and Charles Dickens.

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Reluctance to Go to School

Friday School has already opened in some states (Tennessee) and has yet to open in others (Maryland) so I’ve split the difference by choosing today to honor the occasion. Jonathan Swift’s mention of a laggard schoolbody in “A Description of the Morning” has always fascinated me. “Description of the Morning” gives an account of the […]

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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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What Is Eating Away at America?

Wednesday What does it mean to have a Russian asset as president, if the FBI’s suspicions (as reported by the New York Times) turn out to be correct. Perhaps William Blake’s poem “The Sick Rose” captures the situation. In that instance, the Rose would be the American republic, which is sick despite its high ideals […]

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Imagining Little Ocean’s Future

Looking for the literary significance of my latest grandchild, I turn to Walcott, Whitman, Masefield, Coleridge, and Byron. What emerges is a mystical seeker.

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Welcome Stranger to This Place

The story of Jesus healing an unclean gentile reminds us all to welcome the stranger. Blake shows us the heaven that awaits when we do.

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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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Blake on Trump’s Breast-Feeding Attack

With yet another Trumpian attack on poor children, I turn once again to William Blake.

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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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