This is Berry’s first and most personal collection of essays. The final two pieces are brilliant justifications of why he returned home to Kentucky to, in the agrarian tradition, take his stand. The tragedy of the 1968 essay “The Landscaping of Hell: Strip-Mine Morality in East Kentucky” is that the piece reads as if it were written last week.
A Place on Earth
A Place on Earth is in many ways the cornerstone of Berry’s fiction, all of which is set in the imaginary town of Port William, a shrinking rural community that looks very much like the real Port Royal, Kentucky. Critics who have accused Berry of nostalgia for a bygone era will be surprised to find here a story of grief, pain, and impermanence.
A Timbered Choir
Collected here are Berry’s Sabbath Poems, 1979–1997, written on Sundays during his walks around the unroofed church of his riverside farm. Read these beautiful pastorales outside, where they were written, and you will come to understand why Berry once called himself “a forest Christian.”
These nineteen essays make up Berry’s response to 9/11 and the wars that followed. Their subject is resistance and responsibility, and their direct, uncompromising style lets readers know the septuagenarian Kentucky farmer still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Conversations with Wendell Berry
Edited by Morris Allen Grubbs, this collection of interviews gives readers a chance to hear Berry, the man, talking informally but unflinchingly about his life and work: “The primary fact about me and my work is that I’m a person who is very badly scared.”
Man of the Land: Wendell Berry in Henry County, Kentucky