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The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
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The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  636 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
These 100 poems written between 1957 and 1996 were chosen by the author. Focusing on themes that have occupied his work for years - land and nature, family and community, tradition as the groundwork for life and culture, the selection celebrates the broad range of this poet.
Hardcover
Published October 1st 1998 by Counterpoint LLC
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(showing 1-30)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There are some poets from whom one poem is really all I needed, no matter how much of their other work I may read.
I could read my favorite Wendell Berry poem fifty or a hundred times in a row, and cry every single time. And that tells you just about everything you need to know about me. So I share it with you here.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down wh
...more
Meredith
Jun 04, 2009 Meredith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Once I was given the great gift of Wendell Berry's poem "Do Not Be Ashamed," which can be found in this selection of his poetry.

"Do Not Be Ashamed"

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. An
...more
Gloria
Oct 31, 2012 Gloria rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
I am not qualified to rate poetry, I can only share what speaks to me. And these did:

The Broken Ground

The opening out and out,
body yielding body:
the breaking
through which the new
comes, perching
above its shadow
on the piling up
darkened broken old
husks of itself:
bud opening to flower
opening to fruit opening
to the sweet marrow
of the seed--
taken
from what was, from
what could have been.
What is left
is what is

Breaking

Did I believe I had a clear mind?
It was like the water of a river
flowing shal
...more
Stephanie Dayonot
Wendell Berry is my favorite poet of them all. His poetry speaks to me on every spiritual and human level. His poems have changed my life. Simple as that. His words soothe and heal my soul when it is most in need. I'll be forever grateful that he took the time to write down his words and share them with the world. Most of my favorites of his are in this collection. I have so many of them memorized, thanks, in part, to knowing them by way of song via the great composer Malcolm Dalglish. Others, I ...more
Rebecca
Aug 29, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've known of Wendell Berry all my life, his poetry being some of my father's favorite. But I have never read much Berry. I'm taking a poetry class this semester and we have been encouraged to read good poetry, because that is considered one of the best ways to become a better poet. I am starting off my reading list with Berry, from this volume I found on the bookshelf of my professor in whose house I'm living while he and his family are away in Latvia on the Fullbright Fellowship.
LynneCharlise
Sep 03, 2013 LynneCharlise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
As my father lay dying, I read Berry's poetry to him at his bedside. It's a wonderful collection, deeply moving and spiritual.
Cheryl
Feb 01, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love as many of these poems as with other collections; it felt like these was his academic, proof-of-being-a-serious-poet-collection. But I see why he is considered to have "returned American poetry to a Wordsworthian clarity of purpose." NTYBR. Simple, timeless, spiritual.

His epic Window Poems held incredible promise, I was reading them out loud, enjoying the tone, pace, and resonance since I too love to look out windows especially in my family home. It was epic and spanned generation
...more
Kristi
Sep 01, 2011 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love Berry's poetry. There's such a beauty to it...he's really made me fall in love with poetry again. His poetry is understandable on the first read, yet brings so much meaning to his words that I find myself reading them again and again. :)
Paul Blaney
Jul 08, 2013 Paul Blaney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a poet with his feet firmly planted in the (Kentucky) soil. Spiritual, environmental, and yet profound in its simplicity. I was excited to discover this American voice and will want to read more.
Cathleen
May 02, 2015 Cathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wendell Berry's poems are a respite from a busy world. Reading one or two each day was an escape, a lovely quiet detour that laid bare the essence of some beautiful thing that was deserving of a pause, of a moment, of a breath.
Ms.Wietecha
Jan 09, 2011 Ms.Wietecha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love Berry's poetry. There's such a beauty to it...he's really made me fall in love with poetry again. His poetry is understandable on the first read, yet brings so much meaning to his words that I find myself reading them again and again. :)
Kristi
Mar 13, 2010 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poetry, kentucky
Let's just say that if I ever had a son, I'd be seriously tempted to name him Wendell.

Lovely and brilliant as always.
Tiffany Davidson
I live just down the road from Wendell Berry. It is even more enchanting to read his words and know the woods, roads, and river he so often writes of.
kxm
Mar 28, 2007 kxm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is my favorite book. I read it regularly. When I travel I take it with me. A piece of my soul is between its covers.
Kenneth
Nov 12, 2012 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like Wendell Berry, both his novels and poetry. I think this book of selected Poems gives a great overview for Mr Berry's talents and passions.
Emily
Jan 05, 2017 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I savored this book for so long because the poetry was beautiful. There are so many fantastic poems in this collection, and it's easy to get lost thinking after each. Berry has become one of my favorite poets.
Jeremy Jetzon
Jan 11, 2017 Jeremy Jetzon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Berry's transcendent verse is the poetic equivalent of nitrogen-rich humus, but without all the worms, larvae, and other undesirables.
Christopher
Wendell Berry is something unique in the poetry scene today: an authentically American poet living in but not with an authentic late 20th Century modernity.



In this volume of selected poetry, we are introduced to the major themes of Berry, namely the beauty of the moment that doesn't last, the security of "the same changing thing/in the same place," and the glory of the American ideals of liberty and self-reliance. Also to be found in these pages: a fixation on death as a part of life, a fixation
...more
A. Kaluza
Mar 29, 2014 A. Kaluza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, books-i-own
Wendell Berry soothes. His rich verse interweaving nature with the inevitable subjects of life has always brought me to a sort of zen. The poems are generally long (sometimes spanning several pages) so if you are looking for something to fill a single hour perhaps don't pick this up. But a free afternoon? On a still, cool day with wind chimes tinkling? Wendell Berry is a relaxing, thoughtful joy, and a poet you should most certainly take the time to sit and appreciate. Five stars all the way.
Laura
Jan 21, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
There is much to love in this collection. It includes some of my favorites: The Peace of Wild Things, The Country of Marriage, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front . . .

"You are holding in your body the dark seed of sleep."
Casey
May 03, 2016 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I picked this book upon a recommendation for this book as a follow up to Mary Oliver's poetry. It was similar in tone but new content and overall it is a great paring with Oliver. A few gems lay hidden here, enjoy!
Josh Skaggs
Sep 04, 2014 Josh Skaggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure anything will ever measure up to that first time I read Sabbath Poems, but these were still good. Thanks, Wendell.
Joshua Herbert
Apr 13, 2016 Joshua Herbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wendell Berry is one of the priceless jewels of American literature. This collection is not remarkable among his other works, that is to say it is full of wonders too beautiful to describe.
Al Gritten
Apr 11, 2016 Al Gritten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love his poetry perhaps even more than I enjoy his prose and novels. A wonderful perspective and an amazing poet.
Chris Metzcus
Apr 20, 2016 Chris Metzcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I am not much into poetry I picked up this book at powells in Portland and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kami Rice
Kami Rice rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2007
Tim Marass
Tim Marass rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2014
Tom Rogers
Tom Rogers rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2016
Dustin Ragland
Dustin Ragland rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2011
Mary Jo
Mary Jo rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2016
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Wendell Berry is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, professor of English and poet. He was born August 5, 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky where he now lives on a farm. The New York Times has called Berry the "prophet of rural America."
More about Wendell Berry...

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“The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
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.”
585 likes
“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.”
4 likes
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