Sarah Vowell: Maya Lin Came to Learn and Listen

Sarah Vowell describes how Maya Lin took her own individal style to the Confluence sites, but also came to listen to that place and people.


Sarah Vowell is the New York Times’ bestselling author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture. By examining the connections between the American past and present, she offers personal, often humorous accounts of American history as well as current events and politics. Her most recent book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, explores both the ideas and the battles of the American Revolution, especially the patriot founders’ alliance with France as personified by the teenage volunteer in George Washington’s army, the Marquis de Lafayette.


I was so delighted to be part of this because I was just so, um, delighted and moved by the bird blind and what you, what you all represent when I think you are all what you do. It gives me hope because, because you tell the story that is very fraught and is full of darkness, but there is something about those places. There’s so much beauty and not just the physical places and things I’m at your sites are beautiful, but the story of how it came together, the story of, you know, collaboration, um, and also like just Maya Lin. I mean, I know why you asked her to do that. She’s Earth’s best landscape architect, but I like that, you know, she came to that project and it seems like she came to learn and she came to listen. And so like, what Maya Lin has done is she completely expresses her own aesthetic and her own individuality, but the way she encountered, um, your stories and the people’s stories and brings the past and like, you know, moves it into the future as an American. That, that gives me hope.

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