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March 2009
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Blog Watch: On being placed

Holy Saturday « The People’s Green.

Wendell Berry would have a thing or two to say to me. I have no doubt he would have some stern, fatherly words to share about my promiscuity of place these last twenty years — how quick I’ve been to say I “loved” the far-away nooks to which I’ve traveled or the communities I’ve dabbled in for a month or two, a year or two, at a time. Like Bonhoeffer’s distaste for cheap grace, Berry has suffered little patience for cheap place or its shareholders. He won’t allow me any easy assurance that I “live” somewhere, that I “love” “my” “home.” For him, we’ll never deserve to claim a place as “ours” that we will not defend, keep and serve. We’ll never defend, keep and serve a place we do not love. And, whatever we say, we’ll never love a place we have not married, complete with vows. So what if I, in my travels, drank a place in deeply now and then? Don’t adulturers do the same? READ MORE ...

WB poem sung for Nobel laureate

Saving God's Eden for all: Times Argus Online.

The choir from the nearby Guilford Community Church, where Maathai planted a tree before her 2004 Nobel win, performed a song Saturday featuring the words of the Wendell Berry poem "Great Trees." The group then gave the laureate a piece of birch bark inscribed with the lyrics.

"Green leaves," Maathai said. "For me, that's where the spirituality is. And when we serve others, we grow." READ MORE ...

Review of "The Green Bible"

America | The National Catholic Weekly - Renew the Face of the Earth.

With its comfortable, cotton linen cover, recycled paper, soy-based ink and water-based coating, The Green Bible—with a foreword by Desmond Tutu—is a handsome, eco-friendly volume. Akin to “red-letter Bibles,” highlighting the words of Jesus in red ink, The Green Bible features in green over 1,000 verses dealing with nature, creation and the divine origin of and human responsibility toward both.

The volume is helpfully book-ended by St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures,” a short poem from the Christian Kentucky-poet-farmer Wendell Berry and “The Green Bible Trail Guide,” which delineates green biblical themes and the passages pertaining to them. Also included are a “green topical index,” an annotated list of Christian environmental groups, eco-action ideas and practical tips for congregations interested in getting started down the green path of sustainability. READ MORE ...

"Wild Blessings" : new and recapitulated links

Videobred Blog: A Window into Wendell Berry

LEO Weekly: "Wild Blessings" a simple, reverent service

Louisville Courier-Journal: "Wild Blessings" captures Wendell Berry's voice

The New York Times (a deprecating response)

Louisville Courier-Journal: Poet will step off farm to hear works read on opening night

Metromix Louisville: Review: "Wild Blessings"

"Wild Blessings" An Overview

NPR: "Wild Blessings": Wendell Berry's Passions, Reframed (and HERE)

Tangzine: Long live gravity (see Comments for list of works used in the production)

James Baker Hall photography exhibit

Through a Poet’s Lens:James Baker Hall’s photographs on exhibit at 21c Museum | New Southerner Magazine.

Until April’s end, connoisseurs of both visual and written art can witness how a renowned writer sees the dreamy morning landscapes of rural Kentucky or the humble, rustic and brilliant personalities of the state’s authors, such as Wendell Berry and Bobbie Ann Mason.

James Baker Hall, author of The Mother on the Other Side of the World, retired creative writing director at the University of Kentucky and prolific poet, reveals his first love for photography in an ambitious exhibit at 21c Museum in Louisville. Photo/Synthesis: James Baker Hall features 70 works spanning 50 years of the artist’s life, accompanied by eight of his poems printed by Larkspur letterpress. READ MORE ...

Falsani reviews "Whitefoot"

Wendell Berry’s Whitefoot - Cathleen Falsani - God’s Politics Blog.

Whitefoot is a beautiful, subtle little book. Perfect for these lean times. It would be easy to dismiss it as a simple children’s book, but that would be a mistake. Berry’s first foray into “children’s literature” is in fact a spiritual fable with lessons every adult should take to heart in these nervous times. READ MORE ...

NYT on "Wild Blessings"

At the Humana Festival, a Conventional Drama about a Fraying Family Stands Out -

Superficially the most upbeat and most innocuous entry in the festival, “Wild Blessings: A Celebration of Wendell Berry,” adapted by the Actors Theater artistic director Marc Masterson and Adrien-Alice Hansel from the writings of Mr. Berry, oddly turned out to be one of the most wearying. The mechanics were simple enough: five performers took turns reciting the work of this nature-celebrating Kentucky poet, while photographs of flora and fauna were seen on two large screens behind them.

Rural dwellers may have boundless tolerance for exaltations of the wonders and mysteries of the natural world, but the urban spirit begins to rebel. By the time this well-intentioned but miscalculated show drew to a close, I was more than ready to hop on an environment-trashing jet plane and return to the soulless city, having acquired a pronounced and irrational antipathy to fertile farmland seen on misty mornings and dew-dappled fiddlehead ferns. 

Oops ... missed this one

Poet will step off farm to hear works read on opening night | The Courier-Journal.

 Wendell Berry is curious about the Actors Theatre adaptation of his poetry, but his attention is on his own writing projects and the newborn lambs tottering in his barn lot in the warm spring sun. 

In a recent interview at his Henry County farm 10 days before the play's opening, Berry said he planned to attend the opening night performance of "Wild Blessings" with his wife, Tanya, two children and grandchildren.

The Kentucky writer had no misgivings about what Actors Theatre has done with his poetry.

"I would have had misgivings if they had wanted me to do it," he said, adding, "My responsibility ended with the poems." READ MORE ...

(Link via Silliman's Blog)