I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
The poems of Wendell Berry invite us to stop, to think, to see the world around us, and to savour what is good. Here are consoling verses of hope and of healing; short, simple meditations on love, death, friendship, memory and belonging; luminous hymns to the land, the cycles of nature and the seasons as they ebb and flow. Here is the peace of wild things.
'Do I wish to keep up with the times? No. My wish simply is to live my life as fully as I can'
The great American poet, novelist and environmental activist argues for a life lived slowly.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
'He is unlike anybody else writing today ... After Donald Trump's election, we urgently need to rediscover the best of radical America. An essential part of that story is Wendell Berry. Few of us can live, or even aspire to, his kind of life. But nobody can risk ignoring him' Andrew Marr
'Wendell Berry is the most important writer and thinker that you have (probably) never heard of. He is an American sage' James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life
Wendell Berry is 'something of an anachronism'. He began his life as the old times and the last of the old-time people were dying out, and continues to this day in the old ways: a team of work horses and a pencil are his preferred working tools. The writings gathered in The World-Ending Fire are the unique product of a life spent farming the fields of rural Kentucky with mules and horses, and of the rich, intimate knowledge of the land cultivated by this work. These are essays written in defiance of the false call to progress, and in defence of the local landscapes that provide our cultural heritage, our history, our home.
In a time when our relationship to the natural world is ruled by the violence and greed of unbridled consumerism, Wendell Berry speaks out to defend the land we live on. With grace and conviction, he shows that we simply cannot afford to succumb to the mass-produced madness that drives our global economy. The natural world will not withstand it.
Yet he also shares with us a vision of consolation and of hope. We may be locked in an uneven struggle, but we can and must begin to treat our land, our neighbours, and ourselves with respect and care. We must, as Berry urges, abandon arrogance and stand in awe.
'A farmer of sorts and an artist of sorts,' Wendell Berry is the author of more than fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Lannan, and Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, and also the T. S. Eliot Award, the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement, and the National Humanities Medal. For more than forty years, he has lived and farmed in his native Henry Country, Kentucky, with his wife, Tanya, and their children and grandchildren.