Wendell Berry and Affection

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By: | Apr 30, 2012 02:31 PM | Permalink
Working on my poems, sometimes spending hours adding or removing a comma, I often pull out the Wendell Berry poem: How to be a Poet. He says, in part: Make a place to sit down/ Sit down. Be quiet./ You must depend upon/ affection, reading, knowledge....patience, for patience joins time to eternity. Thanks for your post about Berry. I, too, loved his book, Jayber. Jeanne Bartlett

By: Louise Divine | Apr 28, 2012 01:39 PM | Permalink
Thank you for sending the Wendell Berry information. Sad we don't see that in the Yahoo! headlines. even the Huffington Post silent on this great award for a great human. Mark Bittman did have an article in the NYTimes but he preaches to the choir. thanks again.

By: Daniel Hodge | Apr 28, 2012 01:24 PM | Permalink
Thank you for sharing this news of Wendell Berry's honor. In my thinking, he is a profound influence. I had the honor myself of participating in a college course at University of Kentucky that Mr. Berry designed himself called "Readings in Agriculture." We studied and discussed writers from Milton to Wes Jackson. I have never had a more intellectually stimulating or inspiring experience in academics. As much as I love his essays, poetry and treatises, I am transmitted to another world, when I read his novels and stories about the Port William community through the generations. Reading these books takes me deeply into Port William and recalls pieces of my own heritage. There is no writer or thinker I respect more than Wendell Berry.

By: Patrice Gros | Apr 27, 2012 11:56 PM | Permalink
as a small scale family farmer,i am reminded while listening to this wonderful lecture, of the painful risk/reward situation faced by many of us. as we are in the hands of giant corporations which still dictate our pricing structure, we are forced to look at our farming as a labor of love with few financial windfalls. i am not complaining as i am indeed passionate, but i worry that very few others choose small scale farming as a career and life option.

By: Daniel Hodge | Apr 27, 2012 02:07 PM | Permalink
Thank you for sharing this news of Wendell Berry's honor. In my thinking, he is a profound influence. I had the honor myself of participating in a college course at University of Kentucky that Mr. Berry designed himself called "Readings in Agriculture." We studied and discussed writers from Milton to Wes Jackson. I have never had a more intellectually stimulating or inspiring experience in academics. As much as I love his essays, poetry and treatises, I am transmitted to another world, when I read his novels and stories about the Port William community through the generations. Reading these books takes me deeply into Port William and recalls pieces of my own heritage. There is no writer or thinker I respect more than Wendell Berry.

By: Daniel Hodge | Apr 27, 2012 02:06 PM | Permalink
Thank you for sharing this news of Wendell Berry's honor. In my thinking, he is a profound influence. I had the honor myself of participating in a college course at University of Kentucky that Mr. Berry designed himself called "Readings in Agriculture." We studied and discussed writers from Milton to Wes Jackson. I have never had a more intellectually stimulating or inspiring experience in academics. As much as I love his essays, poetry and treatises, I am transmitted to another world, when I read his novels and stories about the Port William community through the generations. Reading these books takes me deeply into Port William and recalls pieces of my own heritage. There is no writer or thinker I respect more than Wendell Berry.

By: Daniel Hodge | Apr 27, 2012 02:06 PM | Permalink
Thank you for sharing this news of Wendell Berry's honor. In my thinking, he is a profound influence. I had the honor myself of participating in a college course at University of Kentucky that Mr. Berry designed himself called "Readings in Agriculture." We studied and discussed writers from Milton to Wes Jackson. I have never had a more intellectually stimulating or inspiring experience in academics. As much as I love his essays, poetry and treatises, I am transmitted to another world, when I read his novels and stories about the Port William community through the generations. Reading these books takes me deeply into Port William and recalls pieces of my own heritage. There is no writer or thinker I respect more than Wendell Berry.

By: teddi irwin | Apr 27, 2012 01:25 PM | Permalink
I am so proud that you shared Mr. Berry's word. Like many others I had not heard of Wendell Berry nor heard his words. For the past 5 years we have labored to produce a new and unique crop. Our crop will be Native American men who will be given a second chance through agricultural training. Our crop of future farmers will be grown in SE Oklahoma. Thank you, Mr Berry for putting our feelings into words. Now that we have been introduced to Wendell Berry we will add his books to our training program. He would love our class on raising chemical free bees. We've always felt a need, but affection is a far better word to describle why we are doing what we are doing at our farm . Thank you, Erin for sharing this information which is just one more blessing in bringing our dream to fruition in a good way.

By: Kate Harris | Apr 27, 2012 12:50 PM | Permalink
My favorite, sharing during a Witness for Peace delegation to Colombia, S.A.: "Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protestors who hold out longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone's individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence." ~ Wendell Berry - farmer, poet, novelist

By: Jeff (Scotty) Campbell | Apr 27, 2012 01:25 AM | Permalink
From Peg Campbell, Scotty's wife: I've heard his name before but I don't know where and am not familiar with his works. Maybe a quote here and there through the years? Thank you so much for sharing this. I think what he's saying is profound, deeply meaningful and necessary to complete the puzzle of our lives.

By: Lisa M. Airey | Apr 27, 2012 12:36 AM | Permalink
He speaks of a "signature of place" a "somewhereness" that only farmers and gardeners know. Soil speaks. And it takes us home. You have to get your hands dirty to truly understand the message between the lines of his prose. I stand tall, pitchfork in hand. American Gothic? No. American now!

By: Dr. Wayne Hunsucker | Apr 27, 2012 01:02 AM | Permalink
I was in school at Southern seminary in Louisville, KY in the mid-80's. A Wendell Berry was to give a lecture. I had only heard of his 89 acre farm, and that he didn't like mechanized machinery, so I decided to go listen to his lecture.

From the moment the man stood I was enthralled, and have been all these years since. In the interim I've read virtually everything I've ever found of his writings. Sometimes, I've gone back to read again, especially his poem, "The Mad Farmer's Revolution." Oh, what a powerful piece of writing that is to me. I shall never forget his question: "Why do we memorialize the dead? Why don't we take up the gravestones and let dead fertilize the daises?" What a question that is to me!! What a question that is!

I raise honeybees and have for 35 years. Often I've wished Mr. Berry might walk up to me while I'm in the woods with my bees. I do believe we would have quite the conversation.

By: | Apr 26, 2012 09:52 PM | Permalink
Allegheny College is in Meadville, PA approximately 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh.

By: | Apr 26, 2012 09:52 PM | Permalink
Thank you so much for sharing this info on Wendell Berry. I studied his wonderful works years ago in my ecopsychology classes, but had not followed him recently.

What heartening, encouraging news for our planet. I will pass it on to everyone I know!

Willa Dee, Arizona

By: | Apr 26, 2012 09:48 PM | Permalink
Want to hear him in person? 7 p.m. Friday, May 18: lecture by Wendell Berry, Renowned Author, Sustainability Advocate at Vukovich Center Theatre, Allegheny College, Free and Open to the Public

By: | Apr 26, 2012 09:28 PM | Permalink
Your notes on Wendell Berry sent a shiver through me. Where has he been all my life? I have to admit, I never heard of Mr. Berry, but I will be checking his books and reading his words on how we can save our planet through affection and love. I've always believed it, but when I tried to put it in words, folks just stared blindly at me. Thank you for sharing this wonderful human with those of us who did not know him before. We do now.

By: Karin Rasmussen | Apr 26, 2012 09:10 PM | Permalink
If you live in Kentucky and have anything to do with agriculture...you know the name Wendell Berry! He is a Bluegrass state treasure. :)

By: Cary and Shari McMinn | Apr 26, 2012 08:56 PM | Permalink
As a homeschool mom to 11 children, 5 of whom are adopted with special needs, and helpmeet to my farmer husband, I must whole heartedly agree that affection is severely lacking in our modern culture, and absolutely necessary for a joyfilled life. On our rural farm, windy and sometimes brown as it may be, we have affection for our land, the weather, our animals, and most of all each other. We would rather spend a day digging a ditch together - as we did today - than putting on clean clothes and going into the world for shopping, or other instant gratification. Right now my 6 kids at home are in the kitchen making chocolate truffles from scratch, with my 18 y.o. college bound daughter teaching all her younger adopted siblings the fine art of melting chocolate.

My husband and son are quickly putting on weather tight roof on a new rabbit barn as storms are approaching. As I look out my west window, the one that has trays of tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings awaiting outdoor planting in 2 weeks, I am awed by the wind and dark clouds against the green pasture with highland cattle lazily grazing. How blessed am I! It is with great affection that I live my life every day - for my husband, my kids, my nation, and my God.

The internet, the government, politicions, higher education, the right job, none of these can give you affection - it is only to be attained in the relationships with other humans with whom you share life, and within an environment filled with soul-nourishing things. Affection...let's share it, live it, and pass it on.

S. McMinn Fort Morgan, CO

says:    (Apr 26, 2012 12:00 AM)

Your description brought tears of joy to my eyes. Yes! this is what Life should be! Hopefully as this wave of "grow your own food" spreads across our country, others will be surprised to find it leading to a path of affection -- for our food, for the land, for one another, and for Life! -- Willa Dee, Arizona

says:    (Apr 29, 2012 12:00 AM)

Your comment brought tears to my eyes! You are blessed to not get caught up "in the world'. God meant for us to be stewards; caretakers of this planet and examples for our children.We need to go back to a simpler life where our families are our greatest commodities and God is in control. This is the content we need to see in the News. Something to give us hope and encourage those of us who are not able to live in the rural country, but still long for it as we tend to our tiny backyard gardens. Blessings.

By: Casey DelliCarpini | Apr 26, 2012 06:37 PM | Permalink
I haven't read anything by Wendell Berry - I'd love for someone to give me a good "starter" reading. Any suggestions? Thank you!!
Whetstone says:    (Apr 26, 2012 12:00 AM)

My favorite book by Mr. Berry is Jayber Crowe. But lots of people (especially women) prefer Hannah Coulter. These novels embody the ideas he discusses in his essays. Wendell Berry is also being honored with an award this year from the CiRCE Institute. Read more at www.circeinstitute.org, especially about their summer conference where they will bestow this award on Mr. Berry in Louisville this July.

says:    (Apr 26, 2012 12:00 AM)

I loved reading Jayber Crowe. My first introduction to Wendell Berry.


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