Wendell Berry (August 05, 1934 - ..)
Born: 5th August, 1934
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: Kentucky

Wendell Berry Facts

Biography

Wendell Berry, in full Wendell Erdman Berry, (born Aug. 5, 1934, Port Royal, Ky., U.S.), American author whose nature poetry, novels of America's rural past, and essays on ecological responsibility grew from his experiences as a farmer.

Berry was educated at the University of Kentucky, Lexington (B.A., 1956; M.A., 1957). He later taught at Stanford and New York universities and spent a year in Italy. In 1964 he returned to the University of Kentucky to teach and settled on a farm near his birthplace. He left the university in 1977 to concentrate on writing and farming.

Berry's poetry, from his first collection, The Broken Ground (1964), to Sabbaths (1987), reveals a steadily growing concern with the abuse of the land and with the need to restore the balance of nature. The theme of human responsibility to the earth is also present in his novels, including The Memory of Old Jack (1974), which consists of the reflections, dating back to the Civil War years, of a 92-year-old rural man. Among Berry's nonfiction prose works, The Hidden Wound (1970) explores racism and The Unsettling of America (1977) discusses the late 20th-century crises of culture and morality. His essays in The Long-Legged House (1969), The Unforeseen Wilderness: An Essay on Kentucky's Red River Gorge (1971), The Gift of Good Land (1981), Standing by Words (1985), Home Economics (1987), What Are People For? (1990), Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community (1993), and Another Turn of the Crank (1995) expand on his themes of ecology and human responsibility. Berry also published short stories, including the collection Watch with Me: And Six Other Stories of the Yet-Remembered Ptolemy Proudfoot and His Wife, Miss Minnie, Nee Quinch (1994).

Top 42 Wendell Berry quotes

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
Cherish
Earth
Foster
Hope
Legitimate
Only
Our
Remains
Renewal
Survival
I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.
Am
Any
Bound
Climbed
Day
Ground
Healing
Heat
I am
My own
Own
Place
Planted
Public
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Am
Come
Free
Grace
Grief
Lives
Peace
Rest
Tax
Things
Time
Who
Wild
World
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
Any
Argument
Berries
Better
Cup
Dawn
Pick
Red
Rise
Than
We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?
Deal
Enough
Gardens
How
How much
Learn
Most
Much
Our
Question
Time
Urgent
The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.
Adding
Bad
Better
Definition
Escape
Good
Good reason
May
Only
Our
Past
Reason
Something
Strive
The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.
After
Ancient
Care
Cherish
Earth
Foster
Hope
Most
Only
Our
Pleasing
Remains
Renewal
Responsibility
We cannot comprehend what comprehends us.
Cannot
Comprehend
Us
We cannot
It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.
Better
Learn
Ourselves
Than
These are people who are capable of devotion, public devotion, to justice. They meant what they said and every day that passes, they mean it more.
Capable
Day
Devotion
Every
Every day
Justice
Mean
Meant
More
Passes
People
Public
Said
Who
Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
Deals
Decisions
Justice
Know
Longer
Memory
More
Nature
Our
Party
Politicians
Sense
She
Than
All right, every day ain't going to be the best day of your life, don't worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days.
About
Best
Better
Day
Days
Every
Every day
Going
Hold
Life
Open
Possibility
Right
Stick
Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
Deals
Decisions
Justice
Know
Longer
Memory
More
Nature
Our
Party
Politicians
Sense
She
Than
An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.
Cannot
Commitment
Controlled
Derive
Economy
Genuinely
Global
Global economy
Local
Measure
National
Offers
People
Principle
The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking.
Affection
Always
Care
Going
Good
Lacking
Motive
Often
Primary
Too
Use
Which
If I was freer than I had ever been in my life, I was not yet entirely free, for I still hung on to an idea that had been set deep in me by all my schooling so far: I was a bright boy and I ought to make something out of myself... something else that would be a cut or two above my humble origins.
Above
Been
Boy
Bright
Cut
Deep
Else
Entirely
Ever
Far
Free
Freer
Had
Humble
I prayed like a man walking in a forest at night, feeling his way with his hands, at each step fearing to fall into pure bottomlessness forever. Prayer is like lying awake at night, afraid, with your head under the cover, hearing only the beating of your own heart.
Afraid
Awake
Beating
Cover
Each
Fall
Fearing
Feeling
Forest
Forever
Hands
Head
Hearing
Heart
This, I thought, is what is meant by 'thy will be done' in the Lord's Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God's will may not be the same. It means there's a good possibility that you won't get what you pray for. It means that in spite of your prayers you are going to suffer.
About
Again
Done
Get
God
Going
Good
Had
Lord
May
Means
Meant
Possibility
Pray
For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless.
Any
Endless
Our
Sin
Suffer
Suffering
Why
We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. And if we offend gravely enough against what we know to be true, as by failing badly enough to deal affectionately and responsibly with our land and our neighbors, truth will retaliate with ugliness, poverty, and disease.
Against
Alone
Badly
Be true
Belongs
Cannot
Deal
Disease
Enough
Failing
God
Know
Land
Neighbors
To hear of a thousand deaths in war is terrible, and we 'know' that it is. But as it registers on our hearts, it is not more terrible than one death fully imagined.
Death
Deaths
Fully
Hear
Hearts
Imagined
Know
More
Our
Terrible
Than
Thousand
War
It is a horrible fact that we can read in the daily paper, without interrupting our breakfast, numerical reckonings of death and destruction that ought to break our hearts or scare us out of our wits.
Break
Breakfast
Daily
Death
Destruction
Fact
Hearts
Horrible
Ought
Our
Out
Paper
Read
Scare
Why should conservationists have a positive interest in... farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.
Eat
Farming
Interest
Lots
Positive
Reasons
Should
Why
To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.
Absurd
Clearly
Food
Interested
Production
If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.
Attempt
Back
Concerns
Directly
Eat
Fairly
Led
Nature
Need
Previous
Responsibility
Resume
Welfare
Will
Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can't be let off so easily, for they are all farming by proxy.
About
Because
Easily
Entitled
Farmers
Farming
Feel
Food
May
Off
Production
Urban
There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.
Belief
Conditional
Gifts
Life
Only
Our
Places
Sacred
World
We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.
Care
Condition
Good
Know
Live
Love
Take
Take care
To love
Will
Willing
World
The two great aims of industrialism - replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy - seem close to fulfillment.
Aims
Close
Concentration
Fulfillment
Great
Hands
People
Replacement
Seem
Small
Technology
Two
Wealth
When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while, you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.
After
Barn
Best
Help
Impulse
Know
Lamb
New
Nurse
Out
See
Stay
Thing
Walk
I've had a good life, and was born to and among people I've admired and loved.
Admired
Among
Born
Good
Good life
Had
Life
Loved
People
The atmosphere, the earth, the water and the water cycle - those things are good gifts. The ecosystems, the ecosphere, those are good gifts. We have to regard them as gifts because we couldn't make them. We have to regard them as good gifts because we couldn't live without them.
Atmosphere
Because
Cycle
Earth
Ecosystems
Gifts
Good
Live
Make
Regard
Them
Things
Those
Water
We're all complicit in the things we may be trying to oppose. I'm complicit in the things that I'm trying to oppose.
May
Oppose
Things
Trying
The only time I've been arrested was in opposing the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in Indiana. That was in 1979.
Arrested
Been
Hill
Indiana
Marble
Nuclear
Nuclear power
Only
Only time
Opposing
Plant
Power
Power plant
Time
I'm a writer more than I am a talker.
Am
I am
More
Talker
Than
Writer
The latest technology is not always good for anything except to the producers of the technology.
Always
Anything
Except
Good
Latest
Producers
Technology
If we can't afford to take good care of the land that feeds us, we're in an insurmountable mess.
Afford
Care
Feeds
Good
Insurmountable
Land
Mess
Take
Us
The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.
Each
Fitted
Gifts
God
Good
Good work
Honorable
Idea
Kind
Old
Our
Particularly
Preference
Simply
The uplands of my home country in north central Kentucky are sloping and easily eroded, dependent for safekeeping upon year-round cover of perennial plants.
Central
Country
Cover
Dependent
Easily
Eroded
Home
Kentucky
North
Perennial
Plants
Year-round
Industrial agriculture characteristically proceeds by single solutions to single problems: If you want the most money from your land this year, grow the crops for which the market price is highest.
Agriculture
Crops
Grow
Highest
Industrial
Land
Market
Money
Most
Price
Problems
Proceeds
Single
Solutions
Annual plants are nature's emergency medical service, seeded in sounds and scars to hold the land until the perennial cover is re-established.
Annual
Cover
Emergency
Hold
Land
Medical
Nature
Perennial
Plants
Scars
Service
Sounds
Until
The fertility cycle is a cycle entirely of living creatures passing again and again through birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay.
Again
Birth
Creatures
Cycle
Death
Decay
Entirely
Fertility
Growth
Living
Living creatures
Maturity
Passing
Through

Wendell Berry essays

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