Sunday, June 12, 2005

Thinking About Wendell Berry

My students are practicing writing/thinking about authorial perspective this week.

Since all 5 of my students (yes, that is right, I'm actually teaching a writing class with just 5 students!) are from Kentucky, I gathered together a collection of Wendell Berry's online writings for them study in order to understand how an author develops their position through a series of texts and for them to begin learning how to synthesize and respond to a single author's collection of works (in preparation for later, more complex readings/responses on multiple authors writing about important issues)

“The Agrarian Standard.” Orion (2002)

“Christianity and the Survival of Creation.” Cross Currents (Summer 1993)

A Citizen’s Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America.” Orion (March/April 2003)

“Conserving Communities.”

“The Failure of War.” Yes (Winter 2002)

“A Few Words in Favor of Edward Abbey.” (1985)

“For the Love of the Land.” Sierra Magazine (May/June 2002)

“Getting Along With Animals.” The New Farm (September/October 1979):

“Global Problems, Local Solutions.” Resurgence (May/June 2001)

“Health is Membership.” (Delivered as a speech at a conference, "Spirituality and Healing", at Louisville, Kentucky, on October 17, 1994)

“The Idea of a Local Economy.” Orion (2002)

“In Distrust of Movements.” Resurgence (January/February 2000)

“The Joys of Sales Resistance”

“Lest We Forget.” (Excerpt from a Short Story: 1992):

“Life is a Miracle: Classification in Science.” Whole Earth Review (Fall 2000)

“Peaceableness Toward Enemies: Some Notes on the Gulf War.” (1991)

“The Pleasures of Eating.”

“The Prejudice Against Country People.” Progressive (April 2002):

“Private Property and Common Wealth.”

“Thoughts in the Presence of Fear.” Orion (2001)

“Visions for Rural Kentucky.” Whole Earth Review (Winter 1998)

Lannan Readings & Conversations: Wendell Berry with Jack Shoemaker

Wendell Berry: Compromise, Hell!

Wendell Berry: Excerpts from “The Work of Local Culture”

Mark Engler: Why Wendell Berry Matters

T.C. Boyle, Orion, Wendell Berry, Fear, Local Economy, James Howard Kunstler, Prozac, and A Friend of the Earth


Deleted said...

A set of links to treasure, Thivai. Berry is one of the finest, most idiosyncratic writers living. He's a complex man who manages a near absolute morality without being scary. Not many people have what it takes to walk the talk the way he does.

Michael Benton said...


I've been slowly re-working my way through these readings. I am blown away by the simple, yet powerful, clarity of his insights, which leads to me give much more credit to his agrarian stand.

Always thinking through multiple sides and recognizing connections. A clear call to ask:

how should we live

at what cost do we continue certain practices

does the way we live measure up to our moral claims

the power of local connections and place-awareness

so much more...

jb said...

So good to hear of people encouraging others to read Berry. A culture that proclaims, but lacks, moral integrity needs him. Glad you're doing it.

Michael Benton said...

Thanks for the response Jason... doing my best!