In 1995, Wendell Berry’s Roots to the Earth was published in portfolio form by West Meadow Press. The wood etchings of celebrated artist and engraver Wesley Bates were printed from the original wood blocks on handmade Japanese paper.
In 2014, this work was reprinted along with additional poems. together with Bates’ original wood engravings, and designed by Gray Zeitz, Larkspur Press printed just one hundred copies of this book in a stunning limited edition.
Now it is with great pleasure that Counterpoint is reproducing this collaborative work for trade publication, as well as expanding it with the inclusion of the prize-winning never before published in book form short story, “The Branch Way of Doing,” with three additional engravings by Bates.
In his introduction to the 2014 collection, Bates wrote: “As our society moves toward urbanization, the majority of the population views agriculture from an increasingly detached position… In his poetry [Berry] reveals tenderness and love as well as anger and uncertainty… the wood engravings in this collection are intended to be companion pieces to the way he expresses what it is to be a farmer.”
Having once put his hand into the ground,
seeding there what he hopes will outlast him,
a man has made a marriage with his place,
and if he leaves it his flesh will ache to go back.
Roots to the Earth is a captivating look at our fundamental need to root ourselves in the land itself.
WENDELL BERRY, an essayist, novelist, and poet, has been honored with the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, and the John Hay Award of the Orion Society. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Henry County, Kentucky.
WESLEY BATES has had a long association with Mr. Berry. He is an acclaimed artist who is primarily known for his brilliant wood engravings, but he also works in various other mediums. Bates was born in the Yukon Territory and for many years has had a studio in Ontario where he operates the West Meadow Press.
GRAY ZEITZ is the founder and operator of Larkspur Press, producing dozens of fine, letterpress, hand- bound editions of works by Kentucky poets and writers for nearly 40 years. Zeitz is the most important de- signer and printer working in Kentucky and has published at least a dozen beautiful, handmade chapbooks by his friend Wendell Berry.