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Wendell Berry and the binary of Boomers and Stickers

Now I hope — I devoutly hope — that if I were to ask Wendell Berry whether everyone who voluntarily leaves the place of his or her birth is “motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power,” he would say “Of course not.” Equally devoutly I hope that if I were to ask him whether the virtue of being a sticker is the only reason why people stay in their home towns he would also say, “Of course not.”

So why does he insist on the validity of this binary code? It’s useless — it’s worse than useless, it’s simplistic and uncharitable. There are many reasons why people stay home, and many why they leave; and probably no single person is driven by one reason only. “There’s no such thing as an unmixed motive,” as Rebecca West is said to have commented.


Wendell Berry's views inform Roman Catholic sisters on land use

[Mary Berry's] ominous report reignited the mood of urgency in the room, where some fifty people gathered to discuss the opportunities that their lands, and their orders, might have for setting examples of sustainability and blessings from the good earth. Before the lunch break they broke into small groups of six or seven at round tables.

The questions they were asked were these:

  • What does your community's land mean to you personally? How has that land helped shape your personal spirit, commitment and sense of mission?
  • Why has your congregation held onto its land so long (if it has) or divested its land (if it has)? What theological values underlie the relationship between your congregation and your land? How might this theology be of use to our world?

Read much more HERE

An Essay on Wendell Berry and C. S. Lewis

Interestingly, in all the scholarship on both men—and recent years have seen a number of books published about each of them—this is one of the few mentions of the similarities between the Oxford Inkling and the Kentucky agrarian. Given the differences in their writing and personalities, that is perhaps understandable. Lewis wrote fantasy stories; Berry writes realist fiction about a town heavily modeled on his small-town home, Port Royal, Kentucky. Lewis wrote many works of devotional literature; Berry has written many polemics against industrialization. Lewis wrote works of literary scholarship; Berry has written stripped down poetry that can reasonably be compared to deep image poets like James Wright.

Read much more at

Mary Berry writes about Wendell Berry

My father’s name is Wendell Berry and I have been crazy about him for 54 years now. Wendell is married to my mother, Tanya. It is nearly impossible for me to think of one without the other.

It is hard to imagine now that until coming back to live permanently in Henry County in 1964 we had lived in Europe, California and New York City, with stays in Kentucky between those moves. We moved to Lanes Landing, where my parents live now, when I was 7 and my brother, Den, was 3. I can remember seeing the place for the first time but I can only imagine what a great satisfaction it must have been for Daddy to buy a place that he had known all his life and that his mother had loved all of her life.

Read more (and see some sweet old photos) at

Wendell Berry cited on life ethic

This is why I would argue that protecting the environment—the very source of our life—is a pro-life concern. If we continue as we are, our children and grandchildren will live in a degraded landscape, exhausted by abuse and neglect, ruined by speculation and ignorance. We will only be able to change this if we look not to Washington, nor to technology, but to our own values and commitments.

No one has argued this case more eloquently than the farmer, poet, novelist, and essayist Wendell Berry. He is one of the few who has made a connection between abortion, war, and environmental abuse. In his 2003 essay “The Failure of War,” Berry argues against the “hopeless paradox of making peace by making war.”


An essay on "The Weird Localism of Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Wendell Berry"

This essay examines the work of Wendell Berry (academic, poet, and farmer, who is well known for his focus on the local) and the ucanny photography of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. This essay argues that rather than simply a rehashing of the well-worn familar, or an encounter with alterity, both Berry's and Meatyard's work call neat distinctions between the familar and the strange into question. While residence tends to foster habitual perception and naturalising familiarity, Berry's and Meatyard's work suggests that increased intimacy unsettles habitual perception and reveals surprising and often monsterous aspects of familair beings and places.

The complete article is available via

On Wendell Berry's conversation with Michael Pollan

Berry in his opening remarks said, “This is about discovery or a book of revelation. That’s very much the kind of book this is. Robert Frost wanted his readers to think what a hell of a good time he had writing it. And your book very much communicates that. What a hell of a good time you had writing it.” Further on, he added, “It’s an adventure book, a participatory book. There’s lots of humor.”

“Thanks for your book review,” Pollan responded. “It’s the nicest one I’ve gotten and I really do appreciate it…The reason this book is dedicated to you is because you’ve connected the dots between very ordinary things—the plate in front of us and the farm and garden systems, both natural and economic, that organize our lives. “


Wendell Berry works to be performed May 13

The poetry of Wendell Berry hit Congregation Solel pianist Philip Orem close to home, which is why he was moved to compose a song cycle dedicated to his works.

That composition will have its world premiere at Solel in Highland Park on May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

"An Evening of American Song," which is free and open to the public, will feature the Berry song cycle as well as the premiere performance of a song cycle dedicated to the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Orem will accompany soprano Elizabeth Gray and baritone Warren Fremling, who also serves as Solel's music director.


Wendell Berry talks with Michael Pollan

Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry interviewed food journalist Michael Pollan last night [1 May 2013] in Louisville. ... Over the course of the evening, they discussed Pollan's new book "Cooked" and the bigger issues it raises. Here are five takeaways from the interview ...

See the complete article HERE.

Hear the complete conversation HERE.