Archibald MacLeish: reflections by Bernard A. Drabeck, Helen E. Ellis, Richard Wilbur

By Bernard A. Drabeck, Helen E. Ellis, Richard Wilbur

"During the final 5 years of his existence MacLeish participated during this sequence of interviews tracing his profession as a poet, Librarian of Congress, statesman, and guy of letters. He speaks candidly of his pupil years, his 'expatriate interval' in Paris, and his next writing and instructing. The editor/interviewers have properly requested in basic terms short, perceptive questions, leaving the highlight at the poet. His language is colloquial, and the variety of his writing event, and associates should still end up interesting to readers."--Library Journal

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11 The examinations were moved up into May. I took my examinations and was on my way to France within two weeks. I was associated in the beginning with an ambulance outfit. The ambulance outfit was shipped to France ahead of Pershing. When I got there I was able to get free from the ambulance outfit and join the field outfit. This was the kind of experience which calls for a great deal of reexamination of your situation, of what you're doing, what you believe (what you really believe). Ada and I had been married for just about a year and I didn't see her again for over a year and then only briefly.

I also assisted Professor Wilson 13 in international law, a subject about which I knew nothing and cared less. I think if I had done a little more walking up and down the roads by the Loire, I might have realized what was going on. I just wasn't able to put myself in a law office even with good law offices to go into, so I taught constitutional law and I taught international law. This didn't provide enough money, so I taught a night-school course in legal procedure at Northeastern, which was then beginning as an educational institution.

He was worried about control of the material, and what he was reading in the papers about other writers did not ease his doubts. We made an ardent appeal to President Turner, who said we should proceed without any grant funding, that the college would give what help it could (as well as release each of us from one class for the year). We were ready to begin. Of course, during that year we had, working out the NEH proposal with MacLeish, agreed on the objectives and procedures of the project; but MacLeish continued to vacillate.

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