Thursday, August 31, 2023

Quote of the Day (Archibald MacLeish, Contesting ‘The Spreading Ruin of the Countryside’)

“A town is not land, nor even landscape. A town is people living on the land. And whether it will survive or perish depends not on the land but on the people; it depends on what the people think they are….If they think of themselves as living a good and useful and satisfying life, if they put their lives first and the real estate business after, then there is nothing inevitable about the spreading ruin of the countryside.’’—Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, playwright and statesman Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), “A Lay Sermon for the Hill Towns,” originally printed in Riders on the Earth: Essays and Recollections (1978), reprinted in The Pioneer Valley Reader: Prose and Poetry From New England’s Heartland, edited by James C. O’Connell (1995)

(The image accompanying this post shows a covered bridge in Arlington, VT, within a short walking distance of the onetime home of Norman Rockwell, who chronicled small-town New England life visually, as Archibald MacLeish attempted to do in poems and prose like this excerpt.)

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