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Hailey writes from a modest porch on the Homosassa River in Florida. He sleeps there, studies the tides, listens for osprey and manatee, welcomes shipwrecked visitors, watches shadows on its screens, reckons with climate change, and reflects on his own acclimation to his environment. The profound connections he unearths anchor an armchair exploration of past porches and those of the future, moving from ancient Greece to contemporary Sweden, from the White House roof to the Anthropocene home. In his ruminations, he links up with other porch dwellers including environmentalist Rachel Carson, poet Wendell Berry, writers Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston, philosopher John Dewey, architect Louis Kahn, and photographer Paul Strand.
As close as architecture can bring us to nature, the porch is where we can learn to contemplate anew our evolving place in a changing world—a space we need now more than ever. Timeless and timely, Hailey’s book is a dreamy yet deeply passionate meditation on the joy and gravity of sitting on the porch.
“The Porch displays the best traits of university press books: an enormous body of research, backed by years of careful engagement with intellectual and cultural history, and a faith that the world is worth close consideration. Hailey’s prose is patient and deliberate, the mood reverent and ready for wonder. He has written an extraordinary book—literary and philosophical, sensuous and wise—a book with which to confront our changing world.”—Daegan Miller, author of 'This Radical Land'
“The weighty intimations of myth on these pages are leavened by the book’s beautifully prosaic and practical accounts of porch architecture. There could hardly be a more timely book when breathing walls, like bodies, are places where experiences of necessity meet those of freedom.”—David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania