Thirteen More Stories of the Port William Membership
Thirteen new stories of the Port William membership spanning the decades from World War II to the present moment
For those readers of his poetry and inspired by his increasingly vital work as advocate for rational land use and the right-size life, these stories of Wendell Berry's offer entry into the fictional place of value and beauty that is Port William, Kentucky. Berry has said it's taken a lifetime for him to learn to write like an old man, and that's what we have here, stories told with grace and ease and majesty. Wendell Berry is one of our greatest living American authors, writing with the wisdom of maturity and the incandescence that comes of love.
These thirteen new works explore the memory and imagination of Andy Catlett, one of the well-loved central characters of the Port William saga. From 1932 to 2021, these stories span the length of Andy’s life, from before the outbreak of the Second World War to the threatened end of rural life in America.
A brief meditation on the role of technology in his own life and how it has changed the landscape of the United States from "America's greatest philosopher on sustainable life and living" (Chicago Tribune)."A number of people, by now, have told me that I could greatly improve things by buying a computer. My answer is that I am not going to do it. I have several reasons, and they are good ones."
Wendell Berry first challenged the idea that our advanced technological age is a good thing when he penned "Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer" in the late 1980s for Harper's Magazine
, galvanizing a critical reaction eclipsing any the magazine had seen before. He followed by responding with "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine." Both essays are collected in one short volume for the first time.
First published in 1972, “Think Little” is cultural critic and agrarian Wendell Berry at his best: prescient about the dire environmental consequences of our mentality of greed and exploitation, yet hopeful that we will recognize war and oppression and pollution not as separate issues, but aspects of the same. “Think Little” is presented here alongside one of Berry’s most popular and personal essays, “A Native Hill.” This gentle essay of recollection is told alongside a poetic lesson in geography, as Berry explains at length and in detail, that what he stands for is what he stands on.Each palm–size book in the Counterpoints series is meant to stay with you, whether safely in your pocket or long after you turn the last page. From short stories to essays to poems, these little books celebrate our most–beloved writers, whose work encapsulates the spirit of Counterpoint Press: cutting–edge, wide–ranging, and independent.
Six Stories of the Port William Membership
“Berry is a superb writer. His sense of what makes characters tick is extraordinary . . . Short stories don't get any better than these.” —People
As part of Counterpoint's celebration of beloved American author Wendell Berry comes this reissue of his 1986 classic, The Wild Birds: Six Stories of the Port William Membership
. Those stories include “Thicker Than Liquor”, “Where Did They Go?”, “It Wasn't Me”, “The Boundary”, “That Distant Land”, and the titular “The Wild Birds.”
Spanning more than three decades, from 1930 to 1967, these wonderful stories follow Wheeler Catlett, and reintroduce readers to the beloved people who live in Berry's fictional town of Port William, Kentucky.
""Read [him] with pencil in hand, make notes, and hope that somehow our country and the world will soon come to see the truth that is told here."" —The New York Times Book Review
In this collection of essays, first published in 1993, Wendell Berry continues his work as one of America's most necessary social commentators. With wisdom and clear, ringing prose, he tackles head–on some of the most difficult problems confronting us near the end of the twentieth century—problems we still face today.
Berry elucidates connections between sexual brutality and economic brutality, and the role of art and free speech. He forcefully addresses America's unabashed pursuit of self–liberation, which he says is ""still the strongest force now operating in our society."" As individuals turn away from their community, they conform to a ""rootless and placeless monoculture of commercial expectations and products,"" buying into the very economic system that is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent.
A collector's edition, and the perfect gift for the stalwart Wendell Berry fan.
First printed in 1995 by Gray Zeitz of the beloved Larkspur Press in Monterey, Kentucky, this gift edition is a beautiful reproduction of Wendell Berry’s book–length poem, illustrated with the original drawings by Carolyn Whitesel.
Reissued as part of Counterpoint's celebration of beloved American author Wendell Berry, the five stories in Fidelity return readers to Berry's fictional town of Port William, Kentucky, and the familiar characters who form a tight–knit community within.
"Berry richly evokes Port William's farmlands and hamlets, and his characters are fiercely individual, yet mutually protective in everything they do. . . . His sentences are exquisitely constructed, suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world." —The New York Times Book Review
"Each of these elegant stories spans the twentieth century and reveals the profound interconnectedness of the farmers and their families to one another, to their past and to the landscape they inhabit." —The San Francisco Chronicle
"Visionary . . . rooted in a deep concern for nature and the land, . . . [these stories are] tough, relentless and clear. In a roundabout way they are confrontational because they ask basic questions about men and women, violence, work and loyalty." —Hans Ostrom, The Morning News Tribune
The Essential Wendell Berry
The most comprehensive―and only author-authorized―Wendell Berry reader, "America's greatest philosopher on sustainable life and living" (Chicago Tribune).
In a time when our relationship to the natural world is ruled by the violence and greed of unbridled consumerism, Wendell Berry speaks out in these prescient essays, drawn from his fifty-year campaign on behalf of American lands and communities.
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 defense of local landscapes, essays that celebrate our cultural heritage, our history, and our home.
With grace and conviction, Wendell Berry shows that we simply cannot afford to succumb to the mass-produced madness that drives our global economy―the natural world will not allow 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 neighbors, and ourselves with respect and care. As Berry urges, we must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.
and Six Other Stories of the Yet-Remembered Ptolemy Proudfoot and His Wife, Miss Minnie, Née Quinch
This volume of six linked stories and the novella from which the book derives its title is set in Port William from 1908 to the Second World War. Here Wendell Berry introduces two of his more indelible and poignant characters, Ptolemy Proudfoot and his wife Miss Minnie, remarkable for the comic and affectionate range that—with the mastery of this consummate storyteller working at the height of his powers—here approaches the Shakespearean.
Tol Proudfoot is huge, outsized, in the tradition of the mythic. The three–hundred–pound farmer, personally imposing and unkempt, is also the most graceful of presences, reserved and gallant toward his tiny wife, the ninety–pound schoolteacher.
Their contrasts are humorous, of course, and recall the tall tales of rural Americana. In the novella Watch with Me
, we are given a story of such depth, breadth, and importance it earns being listed as one of the most important short stories written in the American language during the twentieth century.
“Wendell Berry writes with a good husbandman’s care and economy . . . His stories are filled with gentle humor.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Berry is the master of earthy country living seen through the eyes of laconic farmers . . . He makes his stories shine with meaning and warmth.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A small treasure of a book . . . part of a long line that descends from Chaucer to Katherine Mansfield to William Trevor.” —Chicago Tribune
New Agrarian Writings
"In Berry’s new book, The Art of Loading Brush, he is a frustrated advocate, speaking out against local wastefulness and distant idealism; he is a gentle friend, asserting, as he always has, the hope possible in caring for the world, and your specific place in it . . . The Art of Loading Brush is singular in Berry’s corpus."—The Paris Review
"[Berry] has never written better." —Booklist (starred review)
Wendell Berry’s profound critique of American culture has entered its sixth decade, and in this gathering he reaches with deep devotion toward a long view of Agrarian philosophy. Mr. Berry believes that American cultural problems are nearly always aligned with their agricultural problems, and recent events have shone a terrible spotlight on the divides between our urban and rural citizens. Our communities are as endangered as our landscapes. There is, as Berry outlines, still much work to do, and our daily lives—in hope and affection—must triumph over despair.
Mr. Berry moves deftly between the real and the imagined. The Art of Loading Brush
is an energetic mix of essays and stories, including “The Thought of Limits in a Prodigal Age,” which explores Agrarian ideals as they present themselves historically and as they might apply to our work today. “The Presence of Nature in the Natural World” is added here as the bookend of this developing New Agrarianism. Four stories extend the Port William story as it follows Andy Catlett throughout his life to this present moment. Andy works alongside his grandson in “The Art of Loading Brush,” one of the most moving and tender stories of the entire Port William cycle. Filled with insights and new revelations from a mind thorough in its considerations and careful in its presentations, The Art of Loading Brush
is a necessary and timely collection."Berry's essays, continuing arguments begun in The Unsettling of America 40 years ago, will be familiar to longtime readers, blending his farm work with his interests in literature old and new . . . Vintage Berry sure to please and instruct his many admirers."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A Farmer's Day Book
David Kline has been called a "twentieth–century Henry David Thoreau" by his friends and contemporaries; an apt comparison given the quiet exuberance with which he records the quotidian goings–on on his organic family farm. Under David's attentive gaze and in his clear, insightful prose the reader is enveloped in the rhythms of farm life; not only the planting and harvesting of crops throughout the year, but the migration patterns of birds, the health and virility of honeybees left nearly to their own devices, the songs and silences of frogs and toads, the disappearance and resurgence of praying mantises in fields–turned woodlands, the search for monarch butterflies in the milkweed. There's rhythm in community, too—neighbors gathering to plant potatoes or to maintain an elderly friend's tomato garden, organic farming conferences and meetings around family dining tables or university panels.
Interspersed with local lore (when the spring's first bumblebee appears the children can go barefoot) is deep technical knowledge of cultivation and land management and the hazards of modern agri–business. Kline records statewide meetings of district supervisors, knows which speakers and committee chairmen are in the pockets of the oil and gas lobbyists, stands up and says his part.
At a time when America's population is being turned toward the benefits of small, local farming practices on our health and our environment, Kline's daybook offers a striking example of the ways in which we are connected to our environment, and the pleasure we can take in daily work and stewardship.
Essays on Poetry and Poets
“There is no exaggeration in pointing out that these essays are addressed to the soul of the reader. They are not academic exercises in erudition as a contribution to ‘Eng. Lit.’” —from the introduction by Brian Keeble
Kathleen Raine was one of the greatest British poets of the last century. Born to a deeply literary and spiritual household, she went on to study at Cambridge, where she met Jacob Bronowski, William Empson, and Malcolm Lowry. A dedicated neoPlatonist, she studied and presented the works of Thomas Taylor and wrote seminal books on William Blake. With Keith Critchlow, Brian Keeble, and Philip Sherrard, she founded, in 1981, the Temenos Academy of Integral Studies, its journal Temenos
, and, later, the Temenos Academy Review
. HRH The Prince of Wales became the patron of the academy in 1997.
For our new selection, That Wondrous Pattern
, Raine offers sixteen essays that range from “The Inner Journey of the Poet” and “What Is Man?” to essays on Blake, Wordsworth, Hopkins, Yeats, Eliot, and several others. The centerpiece, “What Is the Use of Poetry?”, is a rigorous defense of the great art. Editor Brian Keeble himself contributes a fascinating introduction to Raine’s work, and Wendell Berry, a colleague and friend of hers, offers a preface.
All who spend time in the presence of this wonderful writer will leave newly entranced with the art and use of the beautiful, convinced that “it is only in moments when we transcend ourselves that we can know anything of value.