A critical inquiry into the ways Americans have exploited and continue to exploit the land that sustains them, tracing attitudes toward and methods of farming from the eighteenth century to the present
An acclaimed novelist, poet, environmentalist, and farmer argues for a deeper connection to the land and community for the sake of America’s future. Since its publication in 1977, The Unsettling of America has been recognized as a classic of American letters. Wendell Berry argues that good farming is a cultural and spiritual discipline. Todays agribusiness, however, takes farming out of its cultural context and away from families. As a result, we as a nation are more estranged from the land—and from the intimate knowledge, love, and care of it. Sadly, as Berry notes in his Afterword, his arguments and observations are more relevant than ever. We continue to suffer loss of community, the devaluation of human work, and the destruction of nature under an economic system dedicated to the mechanistic pursuit of products and profits. Although “this book has not had the happy fate of being proved wrong,” Berry writes, there are good people working “to make something comely and enduring of our life on this earth.” Wendell Berry is one of those people, writing and working, as ever, with passion, eloquence, and conviction. “Wendell Berry is one of those rare individuals who speaks to us always of responsibility, of the individual cultivation of an active and aware participation in the arts of life.” —The Bloomsbury Review “[Berry’s] poems, novels and essays . . . are probably the most sustained contemporary articulation of America’s agrarian, Jeffersonian ideal.” —Publishers Weekly
The America many people would like to believe in is convincingly explored in this volume of poems by a writer close to the heart of things. The sanity and eloquence of these poems spring from the land in Kentucky where Wendell Berry was born, married, lives, farms, and writes. From classic pastoral themes both lyrical and reflective, to a verse play, to a dramatic narrative and the manic, entertaining, prescient ravings of Berry's Mad Farmer, these poems show a unity of language and consciousness, skill and sensitivity, that has placed Wendell Berry at the front rank of contemporary American poets.
The essays in The Gift of Good Land are as true today as when they were first published in 1981; the problems addressed here are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand. One of the insistent themes of this book is the interdependence, the wholeness, the oneness of people, the land, weather, animals, and family. To touch one is to tamper with them all. We live in one functioning organism whose separate parts are artificially isolated by our culture. The twenty-four essays in this collection cover a variety of subjects; the author's journeys to the Peruvian Andes, to the desert of southern Arizona, and to Amish country to study the evolution of ancient native agricultural practices. In Solving for Pattern,” Mr. Berry lists fourteen critical standards for solving agricultural problems that can just as easily be used as standards for solving personal and family problems. In the title essay, the author examines our Judeo-Christian heritage to discover parallels with the Buddhist doctrine of right livelihood” or right occupation.” He develops the compelling argument that the gift” of good land has strings attached. We have it only on loan and only for as long as we practice good stewardship.
This book is broad and leisurely and important. Something like the river itself on which Wendell Berry lives. It is full of wide and flowing thoughts and one thing leads to another in the manner that nature intended or used to. The language ranges from the grave and beautiful to the sharp and specific, depending on the need to express the vast variety of subjects he presents. The Nation The title of this book is taken from an account by Thomas F. Hornbein on his travels in the Himalayas. It seemed to me, Horenbein wrote, that here man lived in continuous harmony with the land, as much as briefly a part of it as all its other occupants. Wendell Berry's second collection of essays, A Continuous Harmony was first published in 1972, and includes the seminal Think Little, which was printed in The Last Whole Earth Catalogue and reprinted around the globe, and the splendid centerpiece, Discipline and Hope, an insightful and articulate essay making a case for what he calls a new middle.
Only a farmer could delve so deeply into the origins of food, and only a writer of Wendell Berry's caliber could convey it with such conviction and eloquence. Drawn from more than thirty years of work, this collection is essential reading for all who care about what they eat.
For two thousand years, artists, social and cultural activists, politicians and philosophers, humanists and devoted spiritual seekers have all looked to the sayings of Jesus for inspiration and instruction. Unfortunately, on occasions too frequent and destructive to enumerate, the teachings of Christ have been either ignored or distorted by the very people calling themselves Christian. Today, we see a vigorous movement in America fueled by a politicized and engaged portion of the electorate involved in just such ignorance and distortion. Whether directed towards social intolerance or attitudes of warlike aggression, these right-wing citizens have claimed a power of influence that far exceeds their numbers. This small book collects the sayings of Jesus, selected by Mr. Berry, who has contributed an essay of introduction. Here is a way of peace as described and directed by the greatest spiritual teacher in the West. This is a book of inspiration and prayerful compassion, and we may hope a ringing call to action at a time when our country and the world it once led stand at a dangerous crossroads.
The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry gathers one hundred poems written between 1957 and 1996. Chosen by the author, these pieces have been selected from each of nine previously published collections. The rich work in this volume reflects the development of Berry’s poetic sensibility over four decades. Focusing on themes that have occupied his work for years—land and nature, family and community, tradition as the groundwork for life and culture—The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry celebrates the broad range of this vital and transforming poet.
Author: Ann Fisher-Wirth
Publisher: Trinity University Press
Release Date: 2013-02-12
Definitive and daring, The Ecopoetry Anthology is the authoritative collection of contemporary American poetry about nature and the environment--in all its glory and challenge. From praise to lament, the work covers the range of human response to an increasingly complex and often disturbing natural world and inquires of our human place in a vastness beyond the human. To establish the antecedents of today's writing,The Ecopoetry Anthology presents a historical section that includes poetry written from roughly the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Iconic American poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are followed by more modern poets like Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, and even more recent foundational work by poets like Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, and Muriel Rukeyser. With subtle discernment, the editors portray our country's rich heritage and dramatic range of writing about the natural world around us.
Author: Ellen F. Davis
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2008-10-13
This book examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers' pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel. This approach consistently brings out neglected aspects of texts, both poetry and prose, that are central to Jewish and Christian traditions. Rather than seeking solutions from the past, Davis creates a conversation between ancient texts and contemporary agrarian writers; thus she provides a fresh perspective from which to view the destructive practices and assumptions that now dominate the global food economy. The biblical exegesis is wide-ranging and sophisticated; the language is literate and accessible to a broad audience.
The Encyclopedia of Environment and Society brings together multiplying issues, concepts, theories, examples, problems, and policies, with the goal of clearly explicating an emerging way of thinking about people and nature. With more than 1,200 entries written by experts from incredibly diverse fields, this innovative resource is a first step toward diving into the deep pool of emerging knowledge. The five volumes of this Encyclopedia represent more than a catalogue of terms. Rather, they capture the spirit of the moment, a fascinating time when global warming and genetic engineering represent only two of the most obvious examples of socio-environmental issues.
In The Ethics of Food, Gregory E. Pence brings together a collection of voices who share the view that the ethics of genetically modified food is among the most pressing societal questions of our time. This comprehensive collection addresses a broad range of subjects, including the meaning of food, moral analyses of vegetarianism and starvation, the safety and environmental risks of genetically modified food, issues of global food politics and the food industry, and the relationships among food, evolution, and human history.