Speed Museum to show Meatyard's 'Unforeseen Wilderness" photos

Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s The Unforeseen Wilderness

August 6, 2021 – February 13, 2022

The upcoming exhibition of Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s The Unforeseen Wilderness celebrates the recent acquisition of a remarkable portfolio of 56 photographs depicting Kentucky’s own Red River Gorge.

In 1967, the Army Corps of Engineers received approval from Congress( to dam the Red River in east-central Kentucky in an effort to control decades-long flooding in the area. In response, the University Press of Kentucky commissioned poet and essayist Wendell Berry to write a book advocating the preservation of the Gorge in its natural state and engaged Lexington photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard to produce photographs to accompany the text. Meatyard’s photographs, one of the first photographic attempts at environmental conservation in the American South, played a vital role in the decades-long effort to preserve the Gorge.

Find more information about RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD’S THE UNFORESEEN WILDERNESS at the Speed Art Museum.


Wendell Berry's work inspires UK conference

14-16 June 2020 at Brecon Cathedral, Wales UK

A cross-disciplinary conference exploring notions of conviviality, social well-being, and the good life rooted in local landscapes, heritage, and social identities. Inspired by the writings of the American agrarian philosopher, conservationist, poet, and novelist Wendell Berry, participants will explore together how local landscapes and heritage have engendered or can support sustainable communities. The conference will feature keynote lectures, interdisciplinary paper panels, and a concluding panel discussion, as well as a Cathedral tour and a possible walk taking in local landscape and heritage.

For more information visit Inhabiting Memories & Landscapes.


Wendell Berry reads "A Half Pint of Old Darling"

Many thanks to The Membership Podcast for bringing this video to our attention.

As part of Drennon Springs History Day, Henry County farmer, writer and activist Wendell Berry read his short story “A Half Pint of Old Darlin’,” from Watch with Me, a Port William Membership collection that took place in Goforth, a fictional stand-in loosely based on Drennon Springs, Kentucky.

Listen to The Membership discuss this story and "The Lost Bet" ... HERE.


Wendell Berry receives Kentucky Humanities Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky author Wendell Berry received the inaugural Kentucky Humanities Carl West Literary Award presented in a ceremony Thursday at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort.

Presented by Kentucky Humanities, the literary award recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact on the literary culture of the commonwealth.

The award is named in honor of Kentucky journalist Carl West, who established the Kentucky Book Fair and was the driving force behind Kentucky’s premier literary event for more than 30 years.

Read the complete article HERE at The Lane Report.

Also see "Berry the perfect pick for Carl West Literary Award" in Frankfort's The State Journal.


Responses to FPR's "Legacy of Wendell Berry" conference

In the wake of last weekend's (September 14) Front Porch Republic 10th anniversary conference on "The Legacy of Wendell Berry," some who attended have offered their reflections.

Scott P. Richert, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, wondered about the affinity of Catholics for Wendell Berry's thought in "Incarnation and human scale."

The principle of subsidiarity — that everything should be handled at the lowest level possible — lies at the heart of Catholic social teaching. It’s what attracts Catholics who understand it to the work of localists like Mr. Berry and the Front Porch Republic. In order to accomplish anything, we must first realize that we can’t do everything. We’re called to make disciples of all nations, but the first step in doing so — and possibly the last — is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Russell Arben Fox considers the tendency of Mr. Berry's thought to run across a range of political/ideological categories in "A Socialist on the Porch."

This gathering--the largest which FPR has ever organized, and one of their best--had Berry's life and work as its centerpiece. The 85-year-old novelist, essayist, poet, farmer, life-long Democrat, supporter of same-sex marriage, self-described "mad farmer," and all-around contrarian was interviewed by his daughter Mary and spoke with the audience at length. He is no socialist in any formal sense, that's for certain. But he is a man who, from his pastoral place in rural Kentucky, has articulated one of the greatest and most persuasive critiques of capitalism, and its ruinous environmental effects, in all American history.


September Conference on The Legacy of Wendell Berry

Front Porch Republic is hosting a one-day conference on The Legacy of Wendell Berry at The University of Louisville - Belknap Campus.

Join us in Louisville on September 14 for FPR's annual conference. This year our focus will be the life and legacy of Wendell Berry. Speakers include Wendell Berry, Mary Berry, Kate Dalton, Jason Peters, Bill Kauffman, Caleb Stegall, Gracy Olmstead, and Susannah Black.

For ticket information, go HERE.


Wendell Berry in conversation at The Kentucky Book Fair, November 2018

At the Kentucky Book Fair on November 17, 2018, Wendell “I don’t take what I write all that seriously” Berry spoke with Jon Parrish Peede, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The event was moderated by Dr. Morris Grubbs of The University of Kentucky. HERE IS A LINK to an audio recording of that conversation.


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.