Blog Watch: Wendell Berry cited on Limits
Blog Watch: Discovering Agrarianism through Wendell Berry

Citing Wendell Berry on the poetics of place

Yet at the same time, Beasley’s piece looks at region as the clay, and poet as the model. She quotes Richard Hugo, a poet of the Pacific Northwest, who once told a pupil, “Everybody’s a regional poet to some extent, but the region from which you write is merely the lens. The real region is you.”

Contrast this with the attitude of poet Wendell Berry, whose work seems to suggest that place is the shaper, and we are its clay. His works all center in an around a singly community which, in its tangled and sundry doings, created a rhythm of human relationship. Driving roots into community, living amongst others with constancy, is something different than living within region as mere lens.

Berry’s poetic living requires love: love for land, and for people. Without this love, it is very easy to escape into other territory—whether it be physical roaming, or an inner withdrawal. There is nothing to suggest in Beasley’s piece that place has a sort of authoritative cadence or order by which its inhabitants live. She writes of towns that have “been made great largely by its fixed stars, their immediate gaze and winking light.”

via The American Conservative


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