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Standing by Words

Essays

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July 12, 2011 | Paperback | 5 x 8, 208 Pages | ISBN 9781582437453
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“Mr. Berry’s sentences are exquisitely constructed, suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world.” —New York Times Book Review

“If we fail to do what is required and if we do what is forbidden, we exclude ourselves from the mercy of Nature; we destroy our place, or we are exiled from it.”

The essays of Wendell Berry are an extended conversation about the life he values: sustainable agriculture, a connection to place, the miracle of life, and the interconnectedness of all things. The existence of this life is dependent on our devotion to preserving it, an emotional proximity to the land that is slipping away from us.

In six elegant, linked literary essays, Berry considers the degeneration of language that is manifest throughout our culture, from poetry to politics, from conversation to advertising. He shows how the ever-widening cleft between the words and their referents mirrors the increasing isolation of individuals and their communities from the land. With his confident and unwavering prose, Berry assesses how the gap between modern communities and nature grew so large, how we may bridge it, and the role language plays in facilitating both parts.

WENDELL BERRY is the author of more than fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essay. He was most recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For more than forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.

Praise

“Mr. Berry’s sentences are exquisitely constructed, suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world.” —New York Times Book Review

“This skillfully conceived book is one of the strongest contemporary arguments for literary tradition: a challenging credo, un-glib, calmly assured, clearly illuminating—and required reading for those seriously interested in the interplay between literature, ethics, and morality.” —Kirkus

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