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October 2015
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December 2015

Wendell Berry on Censorship at UK

Though I willingly would do so if it were possible, I cannot understand the University of Kentucky’s decision to hide Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s fresco in Memorial Hall. The reason given is only that it shows people doing what they actually did. Black people did work in tobacco fields. Black musicians did play for white dancers. Indians did seriously threaten the settlers at Bryan’s Station.

Ann Rice O’Hanlon was a native of Lexington. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1930. She spent most of her life in Marin County, Calif. She taught art for many years at Dominican College in San Rafael, where her students were of several races. She was the sister of Dee Rice Amyx, wife of Clifford Amyx, once a professor in the art department of the University of Kentucky. My wife, Tanya Amyx Berry, is a niece of Ann Rice O’Hanlon, whom I therefore knew well and for many years. Ann was a liberal, if anybody ever was – too liberal, in fact, to approve entirely of me. I never heard her utter one racist word.



Why We Need Wendell Berry

Following the hottest year on record for Earth, as we talk again about rolling back air-quality standards or building the Keystone XL Pipeline, we need to be reminded why we need Wendell Berry. This writer-thinker-farmer from Kentucky has been making his case now for over fifty years—in fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, and speeches—that we need to change our thinking and our living if we want to continue to live. His message is cautionary and instructive; his tone is always hopeful. Indeed, in the introduction to his collection of essays The Way of Ignorance (2005a), he writes that all his work is “motivated…by fear of our violence to one another and to the world, and by the hope that we might do better” (p. x). We need to listen to him. Steeped as we all are in the narrow, compartmentalized analysis of industrialism, our culture has been taught to value quantity over quality, competition over cooperation, efficiency over effectiveness, standardization over diversity, and the ease of today over the possibility of tomorrow. We have been taught to disregard natural limits and disdain what is small. These are the lessons for despair and our eventual ruin. What we need instead are the lessons of Wendell Berry, the lessons of hope.

Read the complete essay by Jane Schreck at The Journal of Sustainability Education

J. P. Wright's Letter to Wendell Berry

I have fallen in love with one of your poems, but, before I fall any deeper in the well known as Wendell Berry, I must mention, that I feel very drawn to your vibrations. Maybe it is because we have drank of the same water, maybe it is because we share a love for the same state. Maybe it is because our accents are very close. My mother in law is from Henry County… I suspect you might know who Vernon Rucker was. He was my wife’s grandfather and at one point the Sherrif of Henry County. Florence, her Grandmother, worked at the Chat and Nibble in Eminence for many years. 

 I am writing you to ask a favor, but to further explain somewhat my request, I must explain something that I am still trying to figure out. So I, a brave to the elder, might suggest that maybe you should organize the International Brotherhood of Contraries. The labor movement sure could use it. I am a rank and file union activist, and that don’t get you very many friends in the labor movement these days. I am a serious defender of union democracy. The men of today have been taught an aggressive union thug mentality. I am struggling to survive at CSX railroad. This is partly the pull that is fueling my crisis. I am afraid…. but… I am only afraid for others.. or at best, very confused. 

Read it all at J. P Wright's Railroad Music

Wendell Berry at the Kentucky Book Fair

Berry will be among more than 200 international, national and state authors and illustrators at the state’s premier literary event on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Frankfort Convention Center. ...

Berry, also a farmer and environmental activist from Henry County, was the first living writer to be inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, when he was enshrined earlier this year at the Carnegie Center in Lexington. The prolific author has written more than 40 books, earning praise and respect from an international audience. 

Berry, a perennial bestselling author at the book fair, will sign several of his titles including his latest releases, Our Only World: Ten Essays and a new publication of Sabbaths 2013, from Larkspur Press.

See more at KY Forward