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Wendell Berry Defends Rural America Against an …

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endell Berry’s body of writing—spanning over 50 books of poetry, essays, novels, and short stories—can be rather overwhelming to those who’ve merely seen his name on the wall of a farmers’ market or the menu of a hipster cafe. Too many Christians still have only a vague sense of who he is or why he is important, and Ragan Sutterfield’s book, , prepares readers to explore Berry’s work for themselves.

Like Berry’s own writings, Sutterfield’s book follows a symphonic structure: Throughout its 12 brief chapters, themes emerge, develop in new contexts, and find creative resolution. It is perhaps helpful to understand Sutterfield’s exploration of a given, creaturely life as having four main movements. The first considers Berry’s understanding of coherent, loving communities. Berry always works as an amateur—in its etymological sense of lover—whether he is tending his small Kentucky farm or writing poems, essays, and fiction. In all its varied forms, his work models the humility and love that characterize neighborly economies.

Wendell Berry is an American author famous for his writings on nature and ecology

They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer.
~John Burroughs, "The Falling Leaves,"


The breath of autumn had already passed along the foliage, and a coming death had spread over its hues golden, brown and crimson—a strange gaiety of decay, which, with all its beauty, carries an idea of sadness into one's heart.

The Hard-Edged Hope of Wendell Berry | Christianity …

~Mehmet Murat ildan


Aye thou art welcome—heaven's delicious breath!—
When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief,
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
~William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878), "Sonnet—October"


And myriad leaves, on which the Summer wrote
Her blushing farewell, at my feet were strown.
~Albert Laighton (1829–1887), "In the Woods," c.1859


Such days of autumnal decline hold a strange mystery which adds to the gravity of all our moods.

Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry Movie Review …

[Essay] | Faustian Economics, by Wendell Berry | …

Berry was born in Henry County, Kentucky. After receiving his BA and MA degrees from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and 1957, he held a Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship at Stanford University in 1958-1959. He remained at Stanford for one year as a lecturer in creative writing and, later, taught briefly at New York University before accepting an appointment as a professor of English at the University of Kentucky in 1964. ”A Native Hill,” one of the essays in Berry’s The Long-Legged House (1969), contains a section in which the writer examines his decision to leave New York City and ”the literary world” and return to Kentucky. Berry writes that he

Wendell Berry Essays - LA Progressive

Wendell Berry is a poet, novelist, and essayist whose steady literary achievement has earned him wide recognition both as an artist and as a spokesman for contemporary environmental concerns. Since the publication of his first novel, Nathan Coulter (1960), Berry has earned a place as an important American thinker and artist whose philosophy and aesthetics are grounded in a regional, environ mentally sound, agrarian approach to community. Berry’s fiction, as well as his essays and poetry, are closely tied to the farming community of Port Royal, a small town near the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers.


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Having chosen to return to Port Royal, Berry chose as well the constant subject of his poetry and fiction—his native community. Within his close circle of family and friends, Berry writes that he learned the ”two halves of a whole relationship to the earth.” Particularly from his grandfather and father came the sense of continuity with and responsibility for the land; and from Nick, a patron black farm worker, a sense of intimacy, the pleasure of “being there.” Old Nick and Aunt Georgie are the focus of The Hidden Wound (1970), a study of the impact of slavery on his native culture and of the contemporary attitudes toward working the land that it has fostered. Berry writes that his memory of these two respected members of the farm has been one of the persistent forces” in his intellectual growth.

My work has been motivated," Wendell Berry has written, "by a desire to make myself responsibly at home in this world and in my native and chosen place."

~Terri Guillemets, "Remedy falls," 2006


Soon the leaves will all be turning,
From their many shades of green,
Into colors bright and gorgeous...
Reds and yellows, browns and orange,
Underneath the smiling sun,
Each leaf vying with the other
In the change they've now begun.
Giving up their Summer wardrobes,
Gladly; joyfully, with glee,
Putting on their Autumn trousseau,
As they leave their mother tree...
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Wedding of the Leaves" (1940s)


It was October again...