Archibald MacLeish



Archibald MacLeish is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery, Conway, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA.

Grave of Archibald MacLeish
Photograph by Legerdemaine

After graduating from Yale, MacLeish entered Harvard Law School. In 1920 he began work as a lawyer for a Boston firm but resigned in 1923 to move with his wife and children to Paris.

While in Paris he mixed with US ex-pats including e.e cummings, Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. He was strongly influenced by the work of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. His collections of poetry include The Pot of Earth (1924), Nobodaddy (1926) and The Hamlet of A. MacLeish 1928).

In 1928 the MacLeish's returned to the United States and settled on a farm at Conway, Massachusetts. For the next nine years he worked on Henry Lucc's magazine Fortune.

As time went by MacLeish began to turn away from his modernist roots and advocated that poets should be fully involved in society. This was reflected in his acceptance of public roles such as the Librarian of Congress 1939-44, Assistant Secretary of State 1944-45 and Boylston Professor of Harvard 1942-1962.

MacLeish also wrote verse dramas including Panic (1935) and The Fall of the City (1937).

He died in Boston in 1982.

A poem should be equal to:
Not true
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -
A poem should not mean
But be.

from Ars Poetica






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