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November 2009
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January 2010

Blog Watch: Responding to a recent WB interview

come home to homelessness.
Today I listened to the Diane Rehm show. She talked to Wendell Berry. I was driving to the gym to work out when it came on, so I played it on my new mp3 player instead. Listening to his first words brought me to tears because he is an old man, and an old man from Kentucky to boot, that lives close to the land. He reminded me so much of my grandfather, though they really aren’t alike, apart from both being from Kentucky, both growing up on farms, and both being from the same generation. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: Investigating a good-selling book

The Little Book Outselling Expectations « Taylor Bright.
Things may be tight in the book world, but thanks in part to a national radio show one poetry book is outselling expectations. Wendell Berry’s Leavings was selling so well that his publisher was scurrying to get out the second printing of the book right before Christmas. In fact, you couldn’t find it in a store during most of December. So, obviously, I decided to ask a few questions. READ MORE ...

Good WB News for the New Year

Just received from Amazon (yes, hanging head in shame, one foot kicking dirt on the other, I use Amazon) ...

The item(s) listed below will actually ship sooner than we originally expected based on the new release date:

 Wendell Berry "Imagination in Place"
   Previous estimated arrival date: February 03 2010
   New estimated arrival date: January 06 2010

Amazon says it's In Stock now ... so you might be able to nab a copy even before I get mine.

Flourish on WB's "Gift": Haack

Denis Haack on Wendell Berry's "The Gift of Good Land' — Flourish.
My first introduction to our divine calling as stewards of the earth came not from Wendell Berry but from Francis Schaeffer. The fundamentalism of my youth insisted the earth would be annihilated in a burning cataclysm, of no use to a God whose interest was spiritual not physical. In the meantime our job was to rescue souls from a planet doomed to destruction.

Schaeffer would have none of it. The creation, he insisted, is loved by its Creator, is destined for renewal, and will be our home forever. In ideas later distilled in Pollution and the Death of Man, Schaeffer argued that our care for the earth is a calling that must be assumed with passion, that the tree and ant are fellow creatures, not disposable items in a quest to carve out a lifestyle of personal peace and affluence. READ MORE ...

WB cited in conference report

Summary Report from National Young Farmers Conference | Beginning Farmers.
The final and absolutely most exciting session was titled “Building the Young Farmers Movement: How We Can Coordinate and Grow!” led by Severine von Tscharer Fleming, Greenhorns, and Ben Shute. This is what Megan and I had been waiting for. When Wendell Berry told America that we would need 50 million more farmers, he was talking about every single young person in the session, which was standing-room only. About half of us were young, hopeful farmers and the rest were supporters and advocates, representing national organizations. We began by listing the challenges of the movement, then began working on solutions. I was able to share my experience of organizing the MYFC, just two months young at the time. The discussion was spirited and by the close of our two hours together, we were ready to declare: here we are, the National Young Farmer Coalition! Stay tuned for more on the NYFC … READ MORE ...

Review: "Wendell Berry and Religion"

Featured: Wendell Berry and Religion - Shuman and Owens, eds. [Vol. 2, #50].
Wendell Berry and Religion: Heaven’s Earthly Life has been a long time in the making and it is a book that is still unfinished. That’s a good thing, because as Joel Shuman writes in the introduction, this book represents “contributions to an ongoing conversation” with Berry’s work—a conversation “among a particular group of persons, over time and in a particular place.” Such a conversation can never hope to be finished, only interrupted and picked up again—but here we have a very good beginning. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB and language, II

Farm Like a Factory, Eat Like a Pig | Sustainable Food |
Our embrace of mechanization and technology has been so complete as to render us unwilling — or perhaps unable — to conceive of the dictates of an organic reality, a perspective that is costing us not only the health of our environment but the sustainability of our agricultural system.

"By means of the machine metaphor we have eliminated any fear or awe or reverence or humility or delight or joy that might have restrained us in our use of the world,” wrote Wendell Berry in his 1978 book The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture.

Due to this lack of reverence, he points out in his essay "Agricultural Solutions to Agricultural Problems," "we have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist. It is the good work of good farmers — nothing else — that ensures a sufficiency of food over the long term." READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB and language, I

The Fourth Finding Society.
Wendell Berry writes about the importation of mechanistic and analytical language into our everyday description of life:

The language we use to speak of the world and its creatures, including ourselves, has gained a certain analytical power (along with a lot of expertish pomp) but has lost much of its power to designate what is being analyzed or to convey any respect or care or affection or devotion towards it. As a result we have a lot of genuinely concerned people calling upon us to “save” a world which their language simultaneously reduces to an assembly of perfectly featureless and dispirited “ecosystems,” “organisms,” “environments,” “mechanisms,” and the like. It is impossible to prefigure the salvation of the world in the same language by which the world has been dismembered and defaced. READ MORE ...