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December 2014
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February 2015

Wendell Berry's Middle Ground?

Consider two of Berry’s seven principles for the preservation of wilderness, which he presents in Home Economics (1987) as a middle ground between the “nature extremists” and the “technology extremists”:

5. It is not possible (at least, not for very long) for humans to intend their own good specifically or exclusively. We cannot intend our good, in the long run, without intending the good of our place — which means, ultimately, the good of the world.

This principle stuck out to me because if it is true, then it makes deep ecology into a kind of pragmatism. If it is true that the only way to successfully protect human beings in the long run is to aim to protect all living things — or even all things, period? including rocks? including industrial wastes? what does it mean to protect a rock, or an atom? how does one protect (or intend the good of) a “place” in general, or decide what deserves protection, and what protection means? — then biocentrism is anthropocentrism, and pragmatism without biocentrism isn’t actually pragmatic after all.

But on what basis does Berry believe this principle to be true? Faith? It certainly would be pleasing for a deep ecologist to believe that principle number 5 is true. But what is the evidence, and is the evidence persuasive?

Read more at Against the Logicians

More on Ky. Writers Hall of Fame & Wendell Berry

[Elizabeth] Hardwick was one of six inductees at the ceremony, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd that included several acclaimed Kentucky writers likely to be chosen for the Hall of Fame someday.

Four other deceased writers inducted this year were: Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) of Louisville, who created "gonzo" journalism; Guy Davenport (1927-2005) of Lexington, a UK professor and MacArthur "genius" grant winner; Effie Waller Smith (1879-1960), a black poet from Pike County whose work filled three books and was published in Harper's Weekly magazine; and Jim Wayne Miller (1936-1996), who taught at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

They joined 13 other writers of the past inducted during the Hall of Fame's first two years, including Robert Penn Warren, Thomas Merton, Jesse Stuart and James Still.

Most of the crowd Wednesday was there to honor Wendell Berry, the first living inductee. Berry, 80, of Henry County, has written more than 50 books of poetry, fiction and polemics. In the process, he has become an international icon in the land conservation and sustainable agriculture movements.


See also Kentucky Monthly 

Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky Site Note: Checking the Links

This is just to say ... that I have checked the links on pages that have them.

Sadly, I found quite a few broken links and a number of irretrievable ones.

So it goes out here on the internet.

If/when you find a problematic link here, please drop me a line ([email protected]), and I'll see what I can do about it.

Thank you, friends, for continuing to find this site useful and for occasionally telling me so.


Wendell Berry on Impact of Kentucky Writers

As the first living author inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, Wendell Berry lamented that many fine books the state’s authors have written about Kentucky issues have had little impact on public discussion or policy.

In most ways, Kentucky is too fragmented a state, Berry said in remarks at a ceremony Wednesday night at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, where he and five writers from the past were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“This fragmentation is made possible, and continually made worse, by a cloud of silence that hovers over us,” Berry said. “We have in this state no instituted public dialogue, no form in which a public dialogue can take place.

Read more at The Bluegrass & Beyond

Wendell Berry inducted to Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame

Berry made his way through the room, smiling and shaking hands with colleagues and strangers alike. At 80 years old, Berry is the only living inductee into the Hall of Fame and joined the 18 other members who include authors from Kentucky’s 200 years of rich literary tradition.

“It would need a longer speech than I have for me to tell you what it means to me to be included in the company you have included me in,” Berry said.

Berry stressed the importance of Kentucky writers, the thriving culture and his worries about economic, social, cultural and institutional divisions.

“People and land cannot be destroyed or conserved except together,” Berry said.

Read more at Kentucky Kernel

Wendell Berry on the Wound of Racism

If the white man has inflicted the wound of racism upon black men, the cost has been that he would receive the mirror image of that wound into himself. As a member of the dominant race, he has felt little compulsion to acknowledge it or speak of it; the more painful it has grown the more deeply he has hidden it within himself. But the wound is there, and it is a profound disorder, as great a damage in his mind as it is in his society. This wound is in me, as complex and deep in my flesh as blood and nerves. I have borne it all my life, with varying degrees of consciousness, but always carefully, always with the most delicate consideration for the pain I would feel if I were somehow forced to acknowledge it.

Read more at inward/outward 

Wendell Berry inducted to Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame Today

Former UK professor Wendell Berry will be the first living person inaugurated into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame on Wednesday, said Jessica Faye Mohler, the marketing and communications director for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.

The ceremony will be held in the Carnegie Center at 7 p.m. and will include a speech by Berry, as well as five more inaugurations for Guy Davenport, Elizabeth Hardwick, Jim Wayne Miller, Effie Waller Smith and Hunter S. Thompson, according to the Carnegie Center’s press release.

Read more at Kentucky Kernel

See also College Heights Herald (focus on Jim Wayne Miller)

Wendell Berry to be added to Kentucky Hall of Fame January 28

The Carnegie Center is proud to announce the six inductees for 2015 into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, including the Hall's first living writer Wendell Berry. In addition to Berry, this year's class includes Guy Davenport, Elizabeth Hardwick, Jim Wayne Miller, Effie Waller Smith & Hunter S. Thompson.  

 "This year's Hall of Fame inductees are eloquent, inspirational, and sometimes downright outrageous," said Neil Chethik, Executive Director of the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning, which created the Hall of Fame in 2013. "All of them have had a profound impact on American Literature."

 Chethik said the Hall of Fame organizers were excited to induct the first living writer into the Hall of Fame. "In past years, we honored the pillars of Kentucky Literature going back 200 years," he said. "This year, we wanted to recognize a writer who is still going strong. Wendell Berry's mastery of fiction, nonfiction and poetry -- and the worldwide impact of his agriculture writing - made him the overwhelming choice."

Read more at The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning

Wendell Berry's "Hannah Coulter" considered in Italian

La storia di Hannah è una storia di ringraziamenti. La racconta quando è ormai anziana e sola, ma ancora piena di vita e di amore, abitata dai ricordi, circondata dall’affetto di coloro che ha amato. La racconta per ringraziare la vita di tutti questi ricordi, di tutti questi affetti. Una vita che, anche nei momenti più difficili, anche nelle perdite più ottenebranti, le ha regalato persone speciali, che continuano a vivere accanto a lei, in lei. Attraverso lei.

More in Italian at Impressions Chosen from Another Time

Hannah's story is a story of thanks. She tells it when she is already old and alone, but still full of life and love, inhabited by memories, surrounded by the love of those she loved. Tells it to thank the lives of all those memories, all these affections. A life that, even in the most difficult, even in the most numbing losses, gave her special people, who continue to live next to her, in her. Through her.

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On a broadside of Wendell Berry's "The Wild Geese"

This past year, 2014, was the 30th anniversary of Lexington’s Black Swan Books. I recently wrote a feature article at KYForward about Michael’s commemoration of the event with a new Larkspur Press letterpress printed broadside of a poem by Wendell Berry.

A broadside is a single sheet of paper printed on one side and meant for framing. The anniversary broadside features a poem by Kentucky writer Wendell Berry whose works are a specialty of Courtney. Black Swan’s broadsides are printed using century-old equipment by Gray Zeitz of Larkspur Press in Monterey, Kentucky. The work of Berry and Zeitz is in such demand that half of the copies of the anniversary broadside were sold within the first two weeks.

The broadside edition of ‘The Wild Geese’ is limited to only 150 copies, each of which is signed by Wendell Berry and numbered. Broadsides also serve as celebration of letterpress printing itself. You can see and feel the texture of the mouldmade paper, the bite of the type in the dampened printed paper.

Read more (and see pictures) at The Pinstripe Pulpit