Archibald MacLeish Quotes

America is promises to Take! America is promises to Us To take them Brutally With love but Take them.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. "America Was Promises," (1940).
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Poets ... are literal-minded men who will squeeze a word till it hurts.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. repr. As "Art and Law" in Riders on Earth (1978). "Apologia," Harvard Law Review (Cambridge, June 1972).
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The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life—to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. repr. As "Art and Law" in Riders on Earth (1978). "Apologia," Harvard Law Review (Cambridge, June 1972).
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A poem should be equal to: Not true. For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. Ars Poetica (l. 17-20). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.
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A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit, Dumb As old medallions to the thumb,
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. Ars Poetica (l. 1-4). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.
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A poem should not mean But be.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. Ars Poetica (l. 23-24). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.
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As for the nights I warn you the nights are dangerous The wind changes at night and the dreams come It is very cold there are strange stars near Arcturus Voices are crying an unknown name in the sky
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. Epistle to Be Left in the Earth (l. 28-31). . . Modern American & British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed., in consultation with Karl Shapiro and Richard Wilbur. (Rev., shorter ed., 1955) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
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It is not in the world of ideas that life is lived. Life is lived for better or worse in life, and to a man in life, his life can be no more absurd than it can be the opposite of absurd, whatever that opposite may be.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. repr. In "Return from the Excursion," Riders on Earth (1978). "Heaven and Earth and the Cage of Form," Rockefeller University Forum (January-February 1968).
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It is the human season on this sterile air Do words outcarry breath the sound goes on and on. I hear a dead man's cry from autumn long since gone. I cry to you beyond upon his bitter air.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. Immortal Autumn (l. 17-20). . . Modern American & British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed., in consultation with Karl Shapiro and Richard Wilbur. (Rev., shorter ed., 1955) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
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The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), U.S. poet. "In Praise of Dissent," New York Times (Dec. 16, 1956).
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