ACTFIVE and Other Poems by Archibald MacLeish

ACTFIVE and Other Poems

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When Mr. MacLeish is dealing with man in large areas, as he does in the title poem, his verse is intelligent and rhythmic. He doesn't duck behind clouds in this the longest poem in the volume. In it there is a hard, clear, abstract language interspersed with simplicity and reality...He sees man, after two years, stripped to his most severe form, standing in the dark without the protections of his past,- God, strong hero or leader. Now man is suddenly man and the result is good and bare fact. The poem has space as MacLeish describes the blackness surrounding man; it has an enclosed space as he finds man's hope in ""the flesh and the bone"", in the resilience of the will, in the unconquerable desire to love in spite of having every reason not to love...In lesser poems, like Poem in Prase he is almost maudlin. Another poem, Geography of Our Time is prose-like. In it he calls for a thoughtful fluidity of boundaries, a recognition of progress and change even though there are no visible lines or points to act as guides. It is a plea for mature vision and action...Other poems deal with the indefinability of love, the necessity of answering the dead GI's with a constructive world, the need for a political and social consciousness...Mr. MacLeish has a universal and moral conscience and these poems, for the most part, are the result.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1948
Publisher: Random House