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September 2013

Blog Watch: Quoting Wendell Berry at the Farmers' Market

Then he asked me if I had ever heard of Wendell Berry.

Wendell Berry? The Kentucky farmer/poet? Yes, I said I had heard of him. I was a fan of much of his work.

“Wow,” the young man said. “You’re the first person I’ve met who knows of Wendell Berry. Do you recognize this?” And looking off to one side he quoted Berry. He stumbled only once.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Blog Watch: Reflecting on Wendell Berry's idea of hope

At the end of the book Kramer writes:

As Wendell Berry once pointed out to me in a kind but steely tone, hope is a discipline.  Like love, hope is born and developed in the gritty reality of daily circumstances; it must be chosen anew, over and over again.  And like love, I believe that the discipline of hope is a gift.  On my own strength, I do not possess the virtue and willpower required to keep choosing hope, but through my relationships with others and with the Creation, I fancy that God keeps encouraging and empowering me to make that repeated choice.

Hope is so much more than simply wishing that tomorrow might be different than today, or as the Counting Crows sang “maybe this year will be better than the last.”  Unfortunately we often talk of hope as if it were some kind of wishful thinking that somehow someday things will be different.  The tragedy of this is that we us hope as a way of avoiding our lived lives.


Blog Watch: Collecting Wendell Berry's books

In my dabbling with collecting first editions over the years. Wendell Berry’s works have held my attention more than that of any other writer. From a collecting standpoint Berry has a huge, and ever growing, oeuvre. (I’ve told Berry that he writes faster than I can read.) He is a prolific writer of not one or even two genres, but three (fiction, poetry, and essays). And Berry’s works have also appeared in a wide range of limited editions with small presses and print runs (broadsides and chapbooks spanning over five decades). There is always a little treasure out there that you never even knew existed.


Wendell Berry speaks at KFTC meeting

Kentucky author, farmer and KFTC member Wendell Berry kicked off KFTC’s annual membership meeting by lifting up the unbreakable tie between people and the land, between work and community.

In his keynote address to a crowd of more than 200 KFTC members and friends gathered at General Butler State Resort Park, he expressed an ideal of a locally-based economy built on the skills of local people and the diverse resources of the land.

Berry referred to the “tragedy” of industrialization and its emphasis on “job creation.” Industrialization has harmed rural areas all over Kentucky and especially eastern Kentucky.


Wendell Berry noted in reflection on gender disparity

Something I love about the novelist, poet, essayist and farmer Wendell Berry is that many of his more than 50 books include in the author bio: “He lives and farms in his native Kentucky with his wife, Tanya Berry.” His author photo is often a picture of him together with his wife. In words and images he signals that he does not consider himself the solitary creator of his work. In this land where individualism is glorified and the persona of the maker often receives as much as or more attention than the work made, his choice is both wildly unusual and quietly radical.


Wendell Berry and others to protest road construction

A number of prominent Kentucky artists are joining together to protest a potential road that would link US 27 in Jessamine County to I-75 in Madison County, commonly referred to as the I-75 Connector.

“OFF THE ROAD! A Rally Against the I-75 Connector” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and will feature prominent Kentucky authors Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver, who will express their opposition to the potential project at the Lyric Theatre, according to a press release about the event. Other Kentucky artists and musicians taking part include Crystal Wilkinson, Richard Taylor, Maurice Manning, Erik Reece, Eric Scott Sutherland, Matt Duncan, the Northside Sheiks and Tee Dee Young.



I-75 Connector

"I-75 connector protest rally planned for Sept. 19" (The Richmond Register)

Wendell Berry awarded Dayton Literary Peace Prize

CINCINNATI (AP) — The war Wendell Berry often writes about is what he sees as man's violence against his surroundings.

The Kentucky-based author, essayist and poet was named winner Monday of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's lifetime achievement award for his steadfast promotion of the need for people to live at peace with their environment.

"We are violent in our use of land," he said. "... The most direct way, which is invariably the most violent way, to get what we want is the accepted way."




Dayton Literary Peace Prize

St. Catharine's seeks three international farming students for Wendell Berry program

St. Catharine College in rural Washington County, Ky., is looking for three international students to join the school’s nascent Berry Farming Program on scholarships.

The program is based on the life work of Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry, and will teach students about sustainable agriculture. The first students begin this week at the campus in Washington County.  Program coordinator Leah Bayens said the Berry Farming Program will merge both arts and science—including “culture” as well as “agriculture.”