NPR on "The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry"

Wendell Berry's condemnation of modern farming has brought him back into the public eye in recent years. He despises how big farming has become, and how technology-driven.

Dunn's film goes deeply into the business of farming. She speaks with migrant farm workers and big-time farmers, deeply in debt. "Ten years ago I would have never dreamed it would cost what it does to put a crop out now," says one farmer, with a haunted look in his eyes. "It's just crazy what it costs. And sometimes is gets a little hard to sleep at night. Toward the end of the year, all the crops are in the ground, all the money's spent, and we just need a good crop to pay the banks back."

Dunn replays video of a speech that Wendell Berry gave in 1974. Already at that point, he was arguing that when big farms grow and small ones disappear, communities are destroyed, along with the values that sustain those communities — values like loyalty, neighborliness, kindness.

"I don't think that you can love those old values, and love what has come to be American agriculture at the same time," he told his audience.

Read it (and hear it) all at NPR.


Award Given to Wendell Berry Interview

On November 8, 2014, Regent alumnus Chad Wriglesworth sat down with prolific author Wendell Berry to discuss work, sustainability, and eternity. The conversation, which took place at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, was first published in the Spring 2015 edition of CRUX.

We Are Still Near the Beginning: A Conversation with Wendell Berry has been awarded First Place in the Interview Article category of the Evangelical Press Association's 2016 Higher Goals Awards. Please join us in congratulating Wendell Berry, Chad Wriglesworth, and the editorial staff of CRUX for this significant achievement.

Read more at Regent College.


Wendell Berry to be Honored, April 23

American Novelist Wendell Berry will be awarded the 2016 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature this month.  The Center for Southern Studies is set to present this prize April 23 in celebration of Berry’s contributions to Southern literature.
 
A prize presentation will be held April 23 at 1 p.m. in the President’s Dining Room.  There, Berry will present the audience with a reading as well as sign books.

“For several years, students who took Mercer’s First-Year Seminar classes read Mr. Berry’s poem ‘Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.’ In that poem, he exhorts the reader to live freely and love the world. The poem, and Mr. Berry’s life, exemplify many of the ideals that Mercer aspires to uphold, and his prolific career as a writer, poet and activist have thoroughly enriched the tradition of Southern literature,” said David A. Davis, chair of the Lanier Prize Committee and associate professor of English at Mercer.

Se more at Mercer Cluster.


Another Review of "The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry"

Austin-based Cinematographer Lee Daniel – perhaps best known for his collaborations with director Richard Linklater on films like Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise and Boyhood – just won a Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography at the 2016 SXSW Festival for his work on The Seer, and it is well deserved. A movie about the destruction of America’s fading heartland and traditional farming practices, The Seer owes much of its raw power to Daniel’s stunning shots of Kentucky’s rural landscapes and portraits of its worn-out denizens. Co-directors Laura Dunn and Jef Sewell (director and producer on The Unforeseen, which Daniel also shot) do a fine job assembling footage for this elegiac cri de cœur, but the movie really belongs to Daniel’s images.

Read it all at Hammer to Nail.


Wendell Berry to Keynote Books Conference

WB Lex

The 2016 Books-in-Progress Conference, featuring award-winning author Wendell Berry (World LostJayber Crow, and Hannah Coulter, among others) is slated for June 2-4, 2016. The conference will offer craft & business workshops led by authors Silas House, A.J. Verdelle, Marcia Thornton Jones, Writer’s Digest editor Jessica Strawser, and more.  Enjoy small break-out sessions & personal attention. Topics include place, character, revision, marketing your book, children’s literature, and more.

See more information at The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, Lexington, KY.


"The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry" in Bozeman, MT

The new documentary, “The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry,” begins with a stunning whirlwind view of modern life, then meanders down a leaf strewn path through the forest to a place seen as the boondocks – the sticks, nowhere – and proceeds to both tell and show us the beauty of life there. Throughout the journey, our guide is the deep, rich voice of the author, sharing his works and his wisdom on the transformation of this country’s agrarian areas during the rise of industrial agriculture in a process he once referred to as “the unsettling of America.” “The Seer” is an ode to the small town, the small farm and the countryside – a powerful call for reconnecting with the land and community.

Read the whole piece by Jason Burlage at Bozeman Daily Chronicle


Wendell Berry and Life's Small Battles

Berry masterfully crafted these stories to be honest about the human condition with its complex mixture of triumph and sorrow. In so doing, he managed to communicate powerful and eternal truths about the importance of community, kinship, and love.

Just look at Uncle Peach and Wheeler Catlett. Uncle Peach is an estranged family member who makes poor life choices. Wheeler chose to push him away for many years. Broken families are no doubt a reality in this sinful world and perhaps among all of us. But Berry, through Wheeler’s mother, shows the importance and responsibility of love for those whom we call family. The human condition is messy and full of failure, but that does not excuse us from entering into the messiness.

A similar lesson is taught through Mat Felner and his mother. Sickness and pain is a reality with which all of humanity is familiar. Mat encountered this frailness first hand with the hurt man that stepped into his door. He was afraid and shocked by this man. We are all discouraged by the challenges of our world, but Mat’s mother was “a woman who did what the world put before her to do.” In another story, Elton Penn and the community showed love to the sick and desperate Mary Penn. Berry recognizes the realities of man’s fears, but encourages us to break free and love the world in small and ordinary ways, especially through our family members and neighbors.

Read the whole piece by Eric Peterman at The Washington Institute.