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Today's action at MWBoK

The activity aimed at this site today has been unprecedented. And so we take note.

Normally, Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky averages about 200 page views per day. But we just finished our day (based on GMT) at 702. Here's our traffic graphic for the past 120 days:


Quite unusual. The only difference between today and other days seems to be that Mr. Berry was interviewed on NPR. This seems to have driven hordes of folk to Google "Wendell Berry" which led them on to this site—many, perhaps, for the first time.That's all I can figure.

So if you are one of those newcomers, welcome! I hope that this site may continue for some time to be a good resource for those who are seeking the challenge and hopefulness that Mr. Berry offers.

Wendell Berry on WAMU today

Audio of the interview is now available at the program's website. See the links beneath "Listen to this segment."

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Diane Rehm Show.

11:00 (Eastern)
Wendell Berry: A conversation

Poet, author, essayist and farmer. Wendell Berry, known as the grandfather of the slow food movement, discusses food for the body and poetry for the soul.

Wendell Berry, author of fifty books of poetry, fiction and essays.


Blog Watch: WB & MP side by side

fieldwork: Michael Pollan exists because of Wendell Berry.
... in the last two weeks I’ve re-read two important and very different books about food, land, and people: Berry’s “The Unsettling of America” (1977) and Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” (yesterday, today, and tomorrow in every bookstore). Pollan’s writing has crystallized the energy around local, regional and sustainable food, brought it squarely into public awareness, and probably helped make it bigger (maybe helped a lot – it’s hard to say). They’re vastly different books. Berry’s is a jeremiad by a literary Appalachian farmer (and English professor, plus former student of Wallace Stegner’s and friend of Ken Kesey’s): its major sources include William Blake (“energy is eternal delight”), Shakespeare (a beautiful reading of a scene from King Lear), and, not especially explicit, but pervasive, Berry’s Christianity, centered on the goodness of Creation and the sin of division from it. Pollan’s, which needs less introduction, is systems theory and vicarious gourmandizing, courtesy of a somewhat faux-naif narrator who manages, with enormous energy and ingenuity, to trace the ecological sources and effects of industrial, local (and Whole Foods’ “industrial organic”), and hunter-gathered foods. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB on education

The value and purpose of education « On the other side of the road….
I’ve been reading Wendell Berry lately. If you don’t know Berry he’s an american writer/farmer who is neither liberal (he hates big government), or conservative (he hates big corporations and loves the environment), not libertarian, but is very sharp and funny.

In his book Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community he opens with a bit of a diatribe against traditional education. At first this gave me an uneasy feeling as at the age of 37 I’m still going to school for yet another piece of paper that would give me a ridiculous title (for those who know me personally, the title received with this degree doesn’t fit me at all) and a knowledge about things that no else cares about). But in the midst of Berry’s semi-sarcastic diatribe on undergraduate/graduate/post-grad education is alot of truth. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB on nature poetry

Local Food, Poetry and the Pursuit of Holiness - yearofplenty.
Wendell Berry's commentary on "nature poetry" helps explain some of my perspective. Berry points out that in the world of poetry there are two kinds of nature poetry. He says;

"I will use the term here to refer only to those poets who seem to me to have turned the natural world, not as a source of imagery, but as subject of inspiration...With these (poets) nature was of primary interest; by seeing into its life they sensed the presence of a shaping and sustaining spirit within it. With poets such as Donne or Pope or Shelley the particulars of nature were only of secondary interest insofar as they 'stood for' an abstraction that interested the poet primarily and that he has in mind before he turned to nature for the image." READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: Inspired by Jayber Crow

My Place in this World — On The Narrow Road.
Driving around Grass Valley today, I was again discouraged by how out of reach our little piece of land seems. Then I remembered that other dream, the bookstore.

It just so happens that I’m getting ready to re-read Wendell Berry’s novel, “Jayber Crow,” for an essay I have to write. And driving around I remembered that, unlike most of the characters in Berry’s fiction, which centers around the community of Port William, Kentucky, Jayber Crow was not a farmer. Jayber’s skill was barbering. When Jayber made his way to Port William, the town happened to need a barber, and so Jayber took over the chair.

Jayber Crow performed several services essential for community life. Besides cutting hair, Jayber’s barber shop became a meeting place. Whether they needed a cut or not, men were always stopping by to share the latest news, catch up, or just watch life happen on the street outside the shop window.

No kidding, I believe access to a good local bookstore is essential to the health of a community. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: Kalman, Pollan, Berry, & spoon-gagging

In The New York Times, Maira Kalman nods to Mr. Berry via Michael Pollan:


And produces this response from a blogger in Morocco:

Gag me with a custom egg-spoon. While Wendell may be ‘connected to the land’, the process by which he tills his soil is in no way indicative of the tether. I’ve worked land using a plow pulled behind a donkey – it’s not fun. None of the women who live here think it’s all that great, either. Their lives depend on the agricultural calendar – the rain, the earth, the exceptionally hot or dry or frigid days – all have direct impact on their livelihoods and lives. They are ‘connected to the land’ like no one I’ve ever met. And you can bet they’d take a mechanical plow in a heartbeat. A washing machine, too. They’d be no less ’connected’, but man would they be pumped. They could actually, you know, plow a field and still have time to talk to their kids, all in one day. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB on sales resistance

songs of peace: Black Friday: Unplugged - A Meditation on Our Contemporary Matrix.
Recently I came across a book. Actually it is being loaned to me by a young person who recently visited and who is out to change the world and become more and more unplugged. The title of the book is : SEX , ECONOMY, FREEDOM and COMMUNITY. The author is Wendell Berry. Without a doubt, this is one berry worth picking. Here's how Berry begins the book:

Dear Reader, "This is a book about sales resistance. We live in a time when technologies and ideas(often the same thing) are adopted in response not to need but to advertising, salesmanship and fashion. Salesmen and saleswomen now hover about us as persistently as angels intent on " doing us good" according to instructions set forth by persons educated at great public expense in the arts of greed and prevarication. These sales people are now with us, apparently, even in our dreams."

Berry goes on to say that:

"... the first duty of writers who wish to be of any use even to themselves is to resist the language, the ideas, and the categories of this ubiquitous sales talk, no matter from whose mouth it issues. But then, this is also the first duty of everyone else."

So, how might we creatively resist ? READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB's blessing

Sharing: Not Just for Two Year Olds « . : s t e a d y . org : ..

Before we sat down to dinner, I offered a blessing of sorts. I’d come across these words in my readings over the summer. When I was reading In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, I was struck by his recommendation to offer a blessing at every meal. I’ve not been a good practitioner of this suggestion, but I do like the suggestion. The blessing need not be tied up with religious imagry. They following words will do just fine:

Eating with the fullest pleasure — pleasure, that is, that does not come from ignorance — is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection wtih the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend. — Wendell Berry


WB cited on not buying

Friday needn't be black: Rutland Herald Online.
Of course, to suggest people should not shop or should limit their consumerism has a subversive feel to it. We all depend on a strong economy, and newspapers in particular are hoping for a strong rebound in the retail sector. Prosperity is better than stagnation. So by all means, let's shop.

But we also remember the words of the poet and essayist Wendell Berry, who is known in part as an advocate of life close to the land. He said it ought to be easy not to buy what we don't need. READ MORE ...