Wendell Berry Visits Sewanee Freshman Program
On listening to Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry's Sabbath Poems Reviewed

This Day is a collection of poems written by Wendell Berry on Sunday walks in the woods and grounds of his farm, spanning (perhaps not coincidentally, given his Christian faith) thirty-three years, 1979–2012. In his beautiful introduction, he explains that he sought “a lovely freedom from expectations” in which his mind would become “hospitable to unintended thoughts” and that he was just as happy when the poems didn’t come. “To be quiet, even wordless, in a good place is a better gift than poetry.” The introduction then proceeds to express Berry’s thoughts about the natural world and our current relationship to it. Sometimes orthodox, often unorthodox and even heterodox, Berry’s relationship to Christianity, to nature, and to society is unique, truly individual, and authentic. His introduction signals to the reader to grow quiet and release expectations during the next four hundred pages of poetry, a length that might initially daunt some readers but which soon becomes as amiable as a woodland path leading to immersion in the flow of nature and ultimately one’s own thoughts.  

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