Cover image for Our only world : ten essays
Title:
Our only world : ten essays
Author:
Berry, Wendell, 1934- , author.
Publication Information:
Berkeley : Counterpoint, [2015]
Physical Description:
178 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
"In this new collection of [ten] essays, Berry confronts head-on the necessity of clear thinking and direct action. Never one to ignore the present challenge, he understands that only clearly stated questions support the understanding their answers require. For more than fifty years we've had no better spokesman and no more eloquent advocate for the planet, for our families, and for the future of our children and ourselves"--
General Note:
Subtitle in pre-publication: Eleven essays.
Language:
English
Contents:
Paragraphs from a notebook -- The commerce of violence -- A forest conversation -- Local economies to save the land and the people -- Less energy, more life -- Caught in the middle -- On receiving one of the Dayton Literary Peace Prizes -- Our deserted country -- For the 50-year farm bill -- On being asked for "a narrative for the future"
Genre:
ISBN:
9781619024885
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HN59.2 .B469 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

"Stern but compassionate, author Wendell Berry raises broader issues that environmentalists rarely focus on . . . In one sense Berry is the voice of a rural agrarian tradition that stretches from rural Kentucky back to the origins of human civilization. But his insights are universal because Our Only World is filled with beautiful, compassionate writing and careful, profound thinking."
-- Associated Press

The planet's environmental problems respect no national boundaries. From soil erosion and population displacement to climate change and failed energy policies, American governing classes are paid by corporations to pretend that debate is the only democratic necessity and that solutions are capable of withstanding endless delay. Late Capitalism goes about its business of finishing off the planet. And we citizens are left with a shell of what was once proudly described as The American Dream.

In this collection of eleven essays, Berry confronts head-on the necessity of clear thinking and direct action. Never one to ignore the present challenge, he understands that only clearly stated questions support the understanding their answers require. For more than fifty years we've had no better spokesman and no more eloquent advocate for the planet, for our families, and for the future of our children and ourselves.


Author Notes

Wendell Berry The prolific poet, novelist, and essayist Wendell Berry is a fifth-generation native of north central Kentucky. Berry taught at Stanford University; traveled to Italy and France on a Guggenheim Fellowship; and taught at New York University and the University of Kentucky, Lexington, before moving to Henry County.

Berry owns and operates Lanes Landing Farm, a small, hilly piece of property on the Kentucky River. He embraced full-time farming as a career, using horses and organic methods to tend the land. Harmony with nature in general, and the farming tradition in particular, is a central theme of Berry's diverse work.

As a poet, Berry gained popularity within the literary community. Collected Poems, 1957-1982, was particularly well-received. Novels and short stories set in Port William, a fictional town paralleling his real-life home town of Port Royal further established his literary reputation. The Memory of Old Jack, Berry's third novel, received Chicago's Friends of American Writers Award for 1975. Berry reached his broadest audience and attained his greatest popular acclaim through his essays. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture is a springboard for contemporary environmental concerns.

In his life as well as his art, Berry has advocated a responsible, contextual relationship with individuals in a local, agrarian economy.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Valid criticism," poet, conservationist, and national treasure Berry (The Unsettling of America) declares in his latest collection's opening essay, "attempts a just description of our condition." The book goes on to vivisect, with uncommon lucidity and common sense, the accruing damages of the "industrial economy and its so-called free market," as well as our "commerce of violence" that profits from the "destruction of land and people" as shown in the essay "Our Deserted Country," about the wastelands created by industrial agriculture. Berry's crusade is not for conservation but repair, and in another selection, "Local Economies," he offers a "reasonable permanence of dwelling place and vocation" as one remedy. Adhering to an uncompromising ethic that combines stern humility with compassion, Berry rallies a sense of hope (though "the task of hope becomes harder") and responsibility for confronting growing physical and political problems, represented here by the tortured political rhetoric he unpacks in "Caught in the Middle." Moreover, he offers a range of practical, "small solutions"-changes of principle, not policy-that both chasten the reader and inspire him or her to continue "our long, necessary, difficult, happy effort" to protect "our only world." These essays are classic Berry, balancing the fiery conservationist prophet with the lucid and thoughtful poet; the reflective farmer with the visionary writer. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

1 Paragraphs from a Notebookp. 5
2 The Commerce of Violencep. 15
3 A Forest Conversationp. 21
4 Local Economies to Save the Land and the Peoplep. 55
5 Less Energy, More Lifep. 69
6 Caught in the Middlep. 73
7 On Receiving One of the Dayton Literary Peace Prizesp. 97
8 Our Deserted Countryp. 105
9 For the 50-Year Farm Billp. 159
10 On Being Asked for "A Narrative for the Future"p. 167
Acknowledgmentsp. 177

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