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.
In these seven interrelated stories we are again invited to Port William, Kentucky. Rich with humor and wisdom, this collection describes the depth of affection and tolerance for eccentricity that these neighbors bear toward one another, and highlights the comic and often poignant ways they cope with the intrusions of the 20th century into their idyllic, agrarian world.
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. Long before Whole Foods organic produce was available at your local supermarket, Berry was farming with the purity of food in mind. For the last five decades, Berry has embodied mindful eating through his land practices and his writing. In recognition of that influence, Michael Pollan here offers an introduction to this wonderful collection.
Drawn from over thirty years of work, this collection joins bestsellers The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Pollan, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, as essential reading for anyone who cares about what they eat. The essays address such concerns as: How does organic measure up against locally grown? What are the differences between small and large farms, and how does that affect what you put on your dinner table? What can you do to support sustainable agriculture?
A progenitor of the Slow Food movement, Wendell Berry reminds us all to take the time to understand the basics of what we ingest. “Eating is an agriculture act,” he writes. Indeed, we are all players in the food economy.
Hannah Coulter is Wendell Berry's seventh novel and his first to employ the voice of a woman character in its telling. Hannah, the now-elderly narrator, recounts the love she has for the land and for her community. She remembers each of her two husbands, and all places and community connections threatened by twentieth-century technologies. At risk is the whole culture of family farming, hope redeemed when her wayward and once lost grandson, Virgil, returns to his rural home place to work the farm.
Jayber Crow, born in Goforth, Kentucky, orphaned at age ten, began his search as a "pre-ministerial student" at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with "Old Grit," his profound professor of New Testament Greek. "You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them outperhaps a little at a time."
"And how long is that going to take?"
"I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps."
"That could be a long time."
"I will tell you a further mystery," he said. "It may take longer."
Eventually, after the flood of 1937, Jayber becomes the barber of the small community of Port William, Kentucky. From behind that barber chair he lives out the questions that drove him from seminary and begins to accept the gifts of community that enclose his answers. The chair gives him a perfect...
Nathan Coulter begins Wendell Berry's sequence of novels about the citizens of Port William, Kentucky- a setting that is taking its place alongside Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, and Winesburg, Ohio, as one of our most distinctive and recognizable literary locales.
Published in 1967, we return to Port William during the Second World War to revisit Jayber Crow, the barber, Uncle Stanley, the gravedigger, Jarrat and Burley, the sharecroppers, and Brother Preston, the preacher, as well as Mat Feltner, his wife Margaret, and his daughter-in-law Hannah, whose son will be born after news comes that Hannah's husband Virgil is missing.
"The earth is the genius of our life," Wendell Berry writes here. "The final questions and their answers lie serenely coupled in it."
For more than fifty years, Wendell Berry has been telling us stories about Port William, a mythical town on the banks of the Kentucky River, populated over the years by a cast of unforgettable characters living in a single place over a long time. In this new collection, the author's first piece of new fiction since the publication of Andy Catlett in 2006, the stories date's range from 1864, when Rebecca Dawe finds herself in her own reflection at the end of the Civil War, to one from 1991 when Grover Gibbs' widow, Beulah, attends the auction as her home place is offered for sale.
It feels as if the entire membership, all the Catletts, Burley Coulter, Elton Penn, the Rowanberrys, Laura Milby, the preacher's wife, Kate Helen Branch, Andy's dog, Mike, nearly everyone returns with a story or two, to fill in the gaps in this long tale. Those just now joining the Membership will be charmed. Those who've attended before will be enriched.
The story of the community of Port William is one of the great works in American literature. Published in the author's 78th year, this collection, the tenth volume in the series, is the perfect occasion to celebrate his huge achievement.
"And so it's all gone. A new time has come. Various ones of the old time keep faith and stop by to see me, Coulter and Wilma and a few others. But the one I wait to see is Althie. Seems like my whole life now is lived under the feeling of her hand touching me that day of the sale, and every day still.
I lie awake in the night, and I can see it all in my mind, th old place, the house, all the things I took care of so long. I thought I might miss it, but I don't. The time has gone when I oculd do more than worry about it, and I declare it's a load off my mind. But the thoughts, still, are a kind of company."
-- Beulah Gibbs
In Wendell Berry's upcoming "The New Collected Poems," the poet revisits for the first time his immensely popular "Collected Poems," which "The New York Times Book Review" described as "a straight-forward search for a life connected to the soil, for marriage as a sacrament and family life" that "affirms a style that is resonant with the authentic," and "[returns] American poetry to a Wordsworthian clarity of purpose."
In "The New Collected Poems," Berry reprints the nearly two hundred pieces in "Collected Poems," along with the poems from his most recent collections--"Entries," "Given," and "Leavings"--to create an expanded collection, showcasing the work of a man heralded by "The Baltimore Sun" as "a sophisticated, philosophical poet in the line descending from Emerson and Thoreau . . . a major poet of our time."
Wendell Berry is the author of over forty works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and has been awarded numerous literary prizes, including the T.S. Eliot Award, a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. While he began publishing work in the 1960s, "Booklist" has written that "Berry has become ever more prophetic," clearly standing up to the test of time.
Andy Catlett is nine years old when his Uncle Andrew is murdered and it destroys his sense of the order of things. Wendell Berry tackles the problem of truth and recollection as Andy Catlett gathers the details of this tragedy from the fragile memories of the townspeople. Tenderly, yet with directness, this short novel encompasses a changing way of life at the end of World War II.
Remembering takes place in a single day in 1976. Andy Catlett, at the bottom of a deep dark depression since losing his hand in a farming accident, is alone in San Francisco, and takes a long walk through the walking street ofthe city. By the end of the day, when he has flown home to Port William, Kentucky, Andy is on his way to becoming whole again.