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PA NG T T FO ER R N LV I

SELECTED WORKS BY

wendell berry


E EFOR GO B AFTER T A E H ER’S E T COM THOS E WHO ACH OTH HOSE F O E S NDS THO CLE OF OVERS, W LARGER R L E HA NDS OF H T E CI CLE OF ND THE ND OUT C LASP A E HA A LITTL R SI WE C AND TH ER THE RGER CI DANCE, ING IN A MU ... A ASS NCE, TO ARS IT US, WE ENT THE LA P N I , ES ED DA AR HE D US. ATUR JOIN NA S AN E ARM DS ARE ALL CRE E ALSO I T NO A V H O T HAN LE OF M ST O CIRC IFE, WH AND VA OF L SUBTLE SO

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within the circles of our lives


we dance the circles of the years

1

BIOGRAPHY WENDELL BERRY lives and farms with his family in Henry County, Kentucky, and is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Berry’s life, his farm work, his writing and teaching, his home and family, and all that each involves are extraordinarily integrated. He understands his writing as an attempt to elucidate certain connections, primarily the interrelationships and interdependencies of man and the natural world. The traditional community is one of Berry’s central metaphors for cultural and natural harmony. Such a community is a highly intricate alliance in which individuals function as “parts” of a membership, each depending on and affecting all the others. The traditional community, like the traditional farms within it, is a model of interdependency. Berry’s premise, implicit, often explicit, in almost all of his work, is that we must have a particular place, must identify with it, must learn from it, must love it, must care for it. And only by living in this place long enough, and by attending to the knowledge of those who have lived there before us, will we fully realize the consequences of our presence there: “We may deeply affect a place we own for good or ill,” Berry has written, “but our lives are nevertheless included in its life; it will survive us, bearing the results.”


PA NG T T FO ER R N CH ES APT PO SAYS ER 9 IN pr T CUL IN TH es s p PR ES TUR E G er AL S, I io di A FT ca 198 1) ND OF l

SO LV I

2

the circles of the seasons


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within the circles of the years 3


To the problems of farming, then, as to other

speak, only the first circle of the bad effects of a bad

problems of our time, there appear to be three

solution. With a little care, their branchings can be

kinds of solutions:

traced on into nature, into the life of the cities, and into the cultural and economic life of the nation.

There is, first, the solution that causes a ramifying series of new problems, the only limiting criterion

The second kind of solution is that which

being, apparently, that the new problems should

immediately worsens the problem it is intended to

arise beyond the purview of the expertise that

solve, causing a hellish symbiosis in which problem

produced the solution—as, in agriculture, industrial

and solution reciprocally enlarge one another in

solutions to the problem of production have

a sequence that, so far as its own logic is concerned,

invariably caused problems of maintenance,

is limitless—as when the problem of soil compaction

conservation, economics, community health, etc.

is “solved” by a bigger tractor, which further compacts the soil, which makes a need for a still

If, for example, beef cattle are fed in large feed lots,

bigger tractor, and so on and on. There is an

within the boundaries of the feeding operation itself

identical symbiosis between coal-fired power plants

a certain factory-like order and efficiency can be

and air conditioners. It is characteristic of such

achieved. But even within those boundaries that

solutions that no one prospers by them but the

mechanical order immediately produces a biological

suppliers of fuel and equipment.

disorder, for we know that health problems and dependence on drugs will be greater among cattle

These two kinds of solutions are obviously bad.

so confined than among cattle on pasture.

They always serve one good at the expense of another or of several others, and I believe that if

And beyond those boundaries, the problems

all their effects were ever to be accounted for they

multiply. Pen feeding of cattle in large numbers

would be seen to involve, too frequently if not

involves, first, a manure-removal problem, which

invariably, a net loss to nature, agriculture, and

becomes at some point a health problem for the

the human commonwealth.

animals themselves, for the local watershed, and for adjoining ecosystems and human communities. If the manure is disposed of without returning it to the soil that produced the feed, a serious problem of soil fertility is involved. But we know too that large concentrations of animals in feed lots in one place tend to be associated with, and to promote, large cash-grain monocultures in other places. These monocultures tend to be accompanied by a whole set of specifically agricultural problems: soil erosion, soil compaction, epidemic infestations

SUCH SOLUT IONS ALWAYS INVOLVE A DEFINIT ION OF T HE PROBLEM T HAT IS EIT HER FALSE OR SO NARROW AS TO BE VIRTUALLY FALSE.

of pests, weeds, and disease. But they are also accompanied by a set of agricultural-economic problems (dependence on purchased technology; dependence on purchased fuels, fertilizers, and poisons; dependence on credit)—and by a set of community problems, beginning with depopulation and the removal of sources, services, and market to more and more distant towns. And these are, so to

4

the cycles of the moon


within the circles of the seasons

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A JONQUIL FOR MARY PENN

Slowly she learned to imagine where she was. The ridge named for Walter Cotman’s family is a long one, curving out toward the river between the two creek valleys of Willow to the river valley it gets narrower, it’s sides steeper and more deeply incised by hollows. When Elton and Mary Penn were making their beginning there, the uplands were divided into many farms, few of which contained as much as a hundred acres. The hollows, the steeper hillsides, the bluffs along the sides of the two creek valleys were covered with thicket or woods. From where the hawks saw it, the ridge would have seemed a long, irregular promontory reaching out into a sea of trees. And it bore on its back crisscrossings of other trees along the stone or rail or wire

Ac o me mm u n co tal nity an nd d s is th iti th a p e o sh t the n of irit ua ar k p lac no l peo ed, wi e ng pla ple w and t is th ce de ho s hat t e h h ea poss fine are e ch th an i b is i lit d li e t oth peo he k er’s ies o mit n ot ple h owl lives f he a v edg . It r fo r e , the e of e th at e tru ach ir c ac th st in oth onc h e e e wh free each r, th rn i e d o c o th ir h go m am they wit er, on h g t come he a n ms elv d es.

Run and Katie’s Branch. As it comes near

fences, trees in thickets and groves, trees in the houseyards. And on rises of ground or tucked into folds were the gray, paintless buildings of the farmsteads, connected to one another by lanes and paths. Now she thought of herself as belonging there, not just because of her marriage to Elton but also because of the economy that the two of them had made around themselves and with their neighbors. She had learned to think of herself as living and working at the center of a wonderful provisioning: the kitchen and garden, hog pen and smokehouse, henhouse and cellar of her own household; the little commerce of giving and taking that spoked out along the paths connecting her household to the others; Port William on its ridgetop in one direction, Goforth in its valley in the other; and all this at the heart of the weather and the world.

6

the circles of our reasons


within the cycles of the moon.

7

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ng, farmi o t n r an bo , the m d sprout, BORN r wn e N n A e death ght lie do ard d an o g THE M t n e n u h i i o t l s s, gr er he o the f tree e ent een t wer o reach int ine rug. H g. He has s rn. o r g e. iv ds co in The is a d a mol e han ejoic n the outh whos m the soil es back r se again i ends like his m m i i f w o r h o o c d t r d o d t s ou lowe y, an ap, an g the yearl e dung he sses alon as he swal s love flow e water k a i h h i p h t l d t f in t, and ough us see nce o His th miraculo ing sente he sunligh What the unend ging in t lin ark? that vine c the d like a nding in desce G RMIN TO FA

rew ges g , wn a o i d r g rs ar goin ING of m orde SOW road he lives one of b ckle a s u a t t ce w neys ted s here at on r, and w s, the til t, and ho h t e c r plac rive egle vy owe ings e illed n to the barn, fl ran to n alk hea beginn t com s e w e w have l th ween In th the to ern and ir lives it all, I d l l i u h o from use, cist s of the ergrew cleared ture. Bet s that w orld. a ho the deed e fire ov g on the o be pas the tree of the w and then th readin grass t ce and he fate nd nt , sp pla and seed clover a pon the ingled i h t i , w een am m ath u of gr ory’s de act, and t d s n hi im, a I cla

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join, unjoin in love and fear


grief and joy. the circles turn

11

It w ou ld the be po ne ssi pr xt bil oo to ity fa us Ne nd ele of w g i ss, n oo F p a of ds rac far rm co olu me tic h ur as tio e. rs se, to A b n w e the s if pa to ho en rt tal se n req t the o o of ka ne wo loc uir ou se bo r e a k em rw xis far te ut tho i s ted an ork en me c o rou d t m r i s a n u s, a pe of t gh wh n T de ten he he ne nd oh rst alt ss tly am as an Ne h. of res on a2 dt R w h e i g p 50 ho s in Yo pr on the se -ac es rk. siv tel m re e lig rem enta Be d e t a nc i for iry v a e e rka e1 , is of far “co ble 97 Ea m nv 2, for ne rl F en E 12 a arl the tio .S rP 0c pe na Sp ala ow nc en bu tin s. A l” pla er, ce ya e rw nw Br cco ll t mu ide as he hic rd ch fol , ing gra hw l a o Bu to in s3 o w u ing his he t in 0t ld bu fed on pla a 19 co ild sp 72 ,a ws n, er his nd ,w he ,w y ha h h w e h e en ew tw ar erd lf. ou of he Th ea ld as to his co the ev ec ha alr mm e ho d ye e r ntu ad inc red arl ice erc y a r yf u lly u ea wa ial ce sin ee sed dh sc He fer ds ga lea i h t ch u s s i is h liz pp ha r: h ose er. ch ly, rve erd eh oic to or st ad to sel e, s b int e 70 ya wh eit lh l l ell ha bo he alf ich ige lf h ut rt his ev in ob nc is h en its he e. u e e m y r Bu lf r d— rd h ne ore alf . tc av eq xt res ha uir ste er rac de y p e p e u d ,w cis cta ter nc al hic ion on ble ot an of ve hw of im di ord the nti i n n p a tel lie de er st on far af ou da pe lig we al m arm n e n r p a n d e de nd rof ce en er. i sa n r ou t sta of vo of w W lve nd his tha an ith nd an di ch tb life tha his dh nt an efo t th an h h g a e r e ei db of da rd et ei nt till no ee he nit ssu he ab na w ial sa mp p red le orn l b e a u tio lan tte he sin uc an ns rn d, ed ha gh d6 as he db by is l wa 0a h e h an sg ad e a c n l r d. f, h row es be ov On en of ers e ing ns alf his gro toc eq c a o 1 l k w ue fa. rn 2 e i d n 0 nc thr On , g6 ac tha es ee res 0a mo of t th ye cre st thi a ey o r so sh s in fh es we f en is fi su re su ow pp ser cce eld l i s iou es s, ssi aw nti , on s: h de tie as . ter so ea sym fo ior vy du p r a d t g cti om tin ep a n on en gs s, ic m sd de oil att nc esp liz str e er. er, u i t ctu ec In inc on re, ad rea en tin dit tra sin u i o e tes g n, d lar ,h be he ge ca is c rh us ow ea eo lth sw fh pr e is r ob lem e hav ing s.

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12

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only music keeps us here 13


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SO OR LVE CO FO HE R T RE HE NC HE E O AL F P T H, AT QU TE A RN LIT Y, .

of ult es is p sta cri ur tru nd tic e. oss cti Ia al ard i ve ex b m sta l sw e ten aw t n o d h tp a a i co c r r rov hf et ds nfi ha oll for isi de t th ow on be nt al, sm tw el t h e i a b s u e t ut to we st nh it w f am be ll a ea ill to ne sb lth wo tha s v e y o e rk tw me ts a r n t to ee he olv du pr nt dis les ep nh ofi he tin s rob ea to o g mi l rq v t u l hy em ers ish nd ua f s i a s m n , su for rm tit for yo s, a som plifie ffi the fp cie dm s eX of he r n o tly pa ind du a s l u t tte cti co ho s c h sta mp on rn rq as nd . To ,a lex ua ard nd lity , th me ap t ss pli h , a or ose the ts ee ca co olv ms of va he sew bility e inh lid ren . i Th er ty ere as ce sys of e the nt the tem y wil in yw se l se the so ill rve ir g ser rh ou en ve seh the m era the old l ak ma i s n kin as g rea go f fa dil y rm s.

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“F EN THA IND JO T D W O YY O O E S R K, UR N O IF Y W O DAM OU RK C . W AG AN , O E. RK W EL L.�

14

each by all the others held.


15

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in the hold of hands and eyes

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th, h, e ear o branc h t t m o k r c nf e ba rise com ans lift own nd is en, leaf n e a h . g ch B The k The ap ris crot a row. in. Goin rves, s t e s e h n a t n i g c o p a s . t u t u bird r heads e known forms i n the air i b t i i e o y , th rns t back atom retu coming ostly an and rved gh a ne

20

into the darker circles of return.


21


COMPLETE WORKS FICTION

ESSAYS

Fidelity

Another Turn of the Crank

Hannah Coulter

The Art of the Commonplace

Jayber Crow

Citizenship Papers

The Memory of Old Jack

A Continuous Harmony

Nathan Coulter

The Gift of Good Land

A Place on Earth

Harlan Hubbard: Life and Work

Remembering

The Hidden Wound

That Distant Land

Home Economics

Watch with Me

Life Is a Miracle

The Wild Birds

The Long-Legged House

A World Lost

Recollected Essays: 1965-1980 Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community

POETRY

Standing by Words

The Broken Ground

The Unforeseen Wilderness

Clearing

The Unsettling of America

Collected Poems: 1951-1982

What Are People For?

The Country of Marriage Entries Farming: A Hand Book Findings Given Openings A Part Sabbaths Sayings and Doings The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry A Timbered Choir The Wheel

22


23

IO GRAPHY L B I B Berry, Wendell. A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural. (CH) New York: Harcourt, 1972.

— . The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1957–1982. New York: North Point Press, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1984.

— . Fideliity. New York and San Francisco: Pantheon Books, 1992.

— . “Solving For Pattern”. The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural & Agricultural. New York: North Point Press, 1981.

COLOPHON Designed and bound by Laura Javier in the spring of 2010 for Typography II in the Communication Design program at Washington University in St. Louis. Typefaces used include Lacuna Regular at 7/13 pt, Brandon Grotesque Regular, and Auto 1 Small Capitals Italic. Printed with the Steinberg IKON CPP 500, which is, unfortunately, not in harmony with good character, cultural value, or moral law.


Wendell Berry: Solving For Pattern