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November 2009
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Blog Watch: WB's ram's grandson

My Home Farm: I Heart George.
George is somewhat famous as far as we're concerned. He is the grandson of Wendell Berry's ram. (If you're unsure of who Wendell Berry is, do an Amazon search and you'll find pages and pages of novels, essays and poems, mostly about agriculture, by him.) And George, what an aristocratic ovine he is ... his big eyes, his gentle nature, his luxuriating ways. READ MORE ...

WB's 30-year-old "Gift" gets response

Steven Bouma-Prediger on Wendell Berry's — Flourish.
We’ve asked a wide variety of Christian thinkers, writers, and leaders to respond to Mr. Berry’s essay, taking into consideration these questions and their own relevant experiences. We will be posting several of these responses each week. Our first response comes from Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, whose book For the Beauty of the Earth is itself critically important to creation care. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB mentioned concerning "Avatar"

Avatar: Reviewing the Reviewers | Front Porch Republic.
I understand and agree with, to a point, the knock on Hollywood pantheism. That said, I found Douthat’s critique of the movie to be forced and artificial. It is true that the tall blue people were a bit tree-huggy, and their primitive beliefs were certainly based on American Indian-type pantheism or nature-worship. However, the primary expression of this was the belief that all of the living things in their home formed an interconnected whole that the native people are both caretakers and a part of. Take out the fantasy and sci-fi elements and there isn’t anything here Wendell Berry hasn’t also said. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB spotted in coal-protest photo

Bill McKibben–Harnessing the Power and Promise of Youth « Great West Institute.
In the photo below, taken last March in Washington D.C. at an anti-coal rally, I’m in the lower middle, wearing the blue cap. Besides McKibben to my left beneath the Coal sign (Wendell Berry in the orange cap to my right, and Terry T. Williams in front), I’m surrounded by thousands of youth. Although I won’t be around to see it, the young people in the photo (plus the millions associated with, and the gazillions around the globe who have no room for despair, who know in the bottom of their deepest recesses about a bright future) will be listening as their amazed children and grand children ask them questions about the past where using coal to make electricity and oil to power automobiles threatened all life on earth. “Climate change” will have been made a thing of the past by solutions resulting from ideas that we are not even dreaming of today, ideas born in the imaginations of youth. READ MORE ...

WB takes on four presidents

Wendell Berry responds to four college presidents | | The Courier-Journal.
Clearly, the four presidents hope that the energy problem can be solved in isolation by large-scale, expensive technologies, requiring large corporate and government research grants to “Kentucky's leading colleges and universities.” But this fixation excludes much else that may be relevant. (An unsolvable problem of education is that nobody can foretell what may be relevant.) Is it possible that more than two energy sources might be worthy of interest? Is it possible that the sustainability of farm and forest economies might attract the concern of intelligent people, even in “leading colleges and universities,” as perhaps relevant even to the issue of energy? Is it possible that the whole range of the liberal arts might be serviceable to citizens and even to experts in “energy research and development?” READ MORE ...

WB and Christianity not a perfect fit

Of Gardens and Cities.
Wendell Berry and his brand of agrarianism are having a growing impact within evangelicalism. Elder statesmen Eugene Peterson has commended Wendell Berry’s “prophetic bite and Christian winsomeness,” and a 2006 Christianity Today piece described Berry’s influence on younger evangelicals, pushing questions about place, land use, capitalism, localism, and urbanism to the forefront of evangelical consciousness. That article quoted Wheaton professor Ashley Woodiwiss’s comment that students remain attached to Berry’s ideas and vision long after college. Berry appeals to evangelicals partly because he gives voice to discomfort about the displacements of modernity, and partly because he seems to provide resources for working out the elusive “third way” between conservatism and liberalism. One measure of the evangelical enthusiasm is an endorsement of a recent Brazos Press book on Berry that asks “What Would Wendell Berry Do?” So far as I know, no WWWBD bracelets have yet appeared. READ MORE ...

WB, taking out, putting in

Trial By Canning.
If I blame anyone else for this, it is Wendell Berry. I forget really how I first read his work, but he has either restored or ruined my daily experience of food, depending on how much one is willing to maintain certain levels of ignorance when it comes to how we are attached to food. The way we all have been getting our food has changed drastically in a brief span of fiftyish years. For someone like me, who has been alive for only half that period and making conscious decisions about purchasing food for only the few years I’ve been out of college, the loss of collective food history—the means of production from farm to market to home—has been overwhelming. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB's face/voice congruence

berry, wendell « milk and music.
Maybe I’d seen a photo of Wendell Berry before, but I don’t think so. I looked up his picture after listening to this interview on the Dianne Rehm show. Usually the faces I conjure for radio voices are way off (take Garrison Keillor, didn’t expect that scowl) but Mr. Berry looks to me exactly as he sounds. Kind, wise, feeling. Deliberate yet unassuming. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: Reading 'Think Little'

Wendell Berry: Think Little and Start a Garden For Real Change - yearofplenty.
I continue to work my way through Wendell Berry's wonderful little collection of essays, "A Continuous Harmony." I just finished the chapter titled, "Think Little," and his comments are very helpful to the ongoing conversation here on the blog about how real change in food systems and the environment are actualized among real people in real places. READ MORE ...

'Leavings' among best-selling contemporary poetry books

Travis Nichols: Poetry Best Sellers Of 2009.
7. Leavings by Wendell Berry
The latest collection of wise words and back-to-the-land hectoring from Berry, the Kentucky author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, includes this short gem, called "And I Beg Your Pardon": "The first mosquito: / come here, and I will kill thee, / holy though thou art." READ MORE ...