Composer Gavin Bryars uses Wendell Berry prose in choral piece

English composer Gavin Bryars grounds his latest a cappella work, A Native Hill, on text by Mr. Berry from his 1968 essay. The work will be performed on December 14th and 16th by Philadelphia's well-known chamber choir, The Crossing.

A note at Mr. Bryars' site says,

Following from the huge success of The Fifth Century, written for The Crossing and Prism Saxophone Quartet, which won a Grammy for Best Choral performance in January 2018, Gavin has written a substantial new a capella, work that builds on the considerable experience that he has of working with the choir, and the many close personal friendships within it. For this he has set text from the American writer Wendell Berry's early essay A Native Hill (1968). Berry, now in his eighties, has written a great deal - poetry, essays, novels - from the perspective of his life as a farmer in rural Kentucky, where he has lived and worked for over 50 years. He is one of the world's finest writers, and perhaps because of his apparent isolation has been called a "modern-day Thoreau" and certainly his work is as politically charged as that of his 19th century predecessor. Gavin decided to set prose texts rather than the poetry, although, like Thomas Traherne who was the writer used for The Fifth Century, this "prose" has great poetic beauty.

Philadelphia's public radio station, WRTI, will present live highlights of the work on WRTI's Facebook page on Monday, December 10th at 4:30 PM [Eastern time, I presume], and also on WRTI 90.1 and streaming at WRTI.org on Thursday, December 13th at 12:10 PM. See more information HERE.


Wendell Berry in conversation with Crystal Wilkinson

This year's KY Arts and Letters Day [November 10, 2018] at The Berry Center featured a very special keynote for our NEA Big Read: Agrarian Literary League of Henry County. Kentucky authors Wendell Berry and Crystal Wilkinson joined in conversation with moderator Debbie Barker to talk about their work, Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying, growing up in and writing about rural places, and the legacy of black agrarianism in the South. Visit berrycenter.org to subscribe to our newsletter and find us on Facebook and Instagram for more information about events and goings-on at the center. Filmed live on location in New Castle, Kentucky.

 


Wendell Berry on "Wild and Domestic"

Orion Magazine has recently published Mr. Berry's reflections on the troubled and troubling relations between the terms "wild" and "domestic." Orion has also made this brief essay available online. It begins:

I. GARY SNYDER SAID that we know our minds are wild because of the difficulty of making ourselves think what we think we ought to think.

II. That is the fundamental sense of “wild” or of “wilderness”: undomesticated, unrestrained, out of control, disorderly.

III. There are two ways to value this, as exemplified by the sense of “wild party”: from the point of view of the participants and that of the neighbors.

IV. To our people, as pioneers, “the wilderness” looked disorderly, undomestic, out of control.

V. According to that judgment, it needed to be brought under control, put in order by domestication.

VI. But our word “domestic” comes from the Latin domus, meaning “house” or “home.” To domesticate a place is to make a home of it. To be domesticated is to be at home.

VII. It is a sort of betrayal, then, that our version of domestication has imposed ruination, not only upon “wilderness,” as we are inclined to think, but upon the natural or given world, the basis of our economy, our health, in short our existence.

Read the complete article HERE. And subscribe to this great magazine if you can.

 


Wendell Berry at the Kentucky Book Fair, November 17

Wendell Berry, always one of the bestselling Kentucky authors at the book fair, will speak at noon [Saturday, November 17] on the UK Main Stage, then will sign “The Farm” beginning at 1 p.m. Larkspur Press originally produced a limited run of Berry’s illustrated poem, “The Farm,” in 1995. A new offset printed edition from Counterpoint Press has reproduced that gorgeous work in a lovely, understated gift package. Berry – an essayist, novelist and poet from Henry County – was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Read more at The State-Journal.

The Kentucky Book Festival


Columbia State to host presentation on Wendell Berry's 'The Hidden Wound'

The Columbia State Community College philosophy department will host a philosophy invitational featuring Dr. Lucius Outlaw, Vanderbilt University professor of philosophy, and Dr. Peter Kuryla, Belmont University associate professor of history, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room located on the Williamson Campus.

At the invitational, the presenters will discuss “The Hidden Wound,” by Wendell Berry, in acknowledgement of the work’s 50th anniversary.

“The tumultuous events of 1968 prompted Wendell Berry to reevaluate how his childhood experiences with racial relations on a Kentucky farm informed his awareness of the festering social problem of racism, which he deems unavoidable until the source can be examined within the framework of our social inheritance and we truly begin to recognize the humanity in every individual."

Find more information at The Williamson Herald.