Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Some People Just Don't Like MacLeish


Joe Luna, the author of this article "Space | Poetry" (Critical Inquiry 43, no. 1 (Autumn 2016): 110-138), was one of the many who did not like MacLeish:
One of the most influential and widely reproduced commentaries on the image was written by Archibald MacLeish. The prose essay "A Reflection: Riders on Earth Together, Brothers in Eternal Cold" first appeared on Christmas Day, 1968 in the New York Times. It was quoted prominently in the special issue May 1969 National Geographic on Apollo 8, accompanied by a full-color centerfold reproduction of Earthrise. "To see the earth desireable as it truly is," concludes MacLeish,
small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold - brothers who know now they are truly brothers.[13]
Poetry was bound up in these events, not only as part of the hackneyed official propaganda by stooges like MacLeish, but also through the way in which contemporary media made the adventures discoverable and desirable in language.

[13.] Archibald MacLeish, "A Reflection: Riders on Earth Together, Brothers in Eternal Cold," New York Times, 25 Dec. 1968, p. 1. As Poole points out, the essay was in fact written and published before MacLeish could have seen the photograph to which it responds; see Poole, Earthrise, p. 35.
Luna had his reasons for disliking MacLeish. More on that another time . . .

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