Berry, Wendell Erdman,
1934–, American farmer, environmentalist, and writer, b. Henry co., Ky., grad. Univ of Kentucky (B.A., 1956; M.A., 1957). He taught at various colleges including his alma mater, leaving it in 1977 to write and pursue organic farming. Berry has written more than 80 books, many concerned with the ills of industrial farming and of technology and the vanishing of rural living, and focused on the responsibility of individuals to their communities and the environment. His fiction and poetry often deal with farming life. His novels and short stories center on the fictional town of Port William, Ky. The former include Nathan Coulter
(1960), The Memory of Old Jack
(1988), A World Lost
(1996), Jayber Crow
(2000), and Hannah Coulter
(2004); many of the latter are collected in That Distant Land
(2004). His collected poetry through 1982 was published in 1985; his later poetry collections are Clearing
(2009), and This Day
(2014). A prolific essayist, Berry discusses agriculture in The Unsettling of America
(1977) and other collections, and other aspects of his views Standing by Words
(1987), Another Turn of the Crank
(1996), Citizenship Papers
(2003), The Art of Loading Brush
(2017), and additional books.
See P. Kingsnorth, ed., The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry (2018) and selected essays ed. by J. Shoemaker (2 vol. 2019); C. Wriglesworth, ed., The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder (2014); biographies by A. J. Angyal (1995), J. Peters (2007) and R. Sutterfield (2017); studies by K. K. Smith (2003), J. M. Bonzo and M. R. Stevens (2008), J. J. Shuman and L. R. Owens (2009), F. Oehlschlaeger (2011), J. R. Wiebe (2017), and J. Bilbro (2019).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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