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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this gathering of work from the past fifteen years, Wendell Berry offers poems of remembrance and regeneration, celebrating life's complexities from the domestic to the eternal. The heart of this collection is a sequence written during Berry's father's final years -- poems that shimmer with compassion, grief, great loss and great love.
Paperback, 88 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Counterpoint (first published 1994)
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Micah McCarty
Wow. There was a section at the end of poems he had written about his father that were devastatingly beautiful. I can't imagine watching a parent slowly deteriorate into confusion and sickness. I know that day will come. And I know that on that day I will return to these poems as a source for my own struggles and healing. Wendell Berry is simply my favorite author. Everything he writes connects with me on so many levels. The book is worth the price simply for this one poem entitled For and Absen...more
In the last few months, the poetry of Wendell Berry caught my attention. But this summer, Wendell Berry has become one of my very favorite writers. I recently checked this book out at my local library, started reading, got hooked, and finished it in one day. It was a wonderful reading experience, more enjoyable than any book I've read for a long time. (And I'm glad I didn't come across his works till this year - I don't think I could have enjoyed Berry before I turned 30.) At times Berry gets a...more
Anglo-Saxon Protestent Heterosexual Men

Come, dear brothers,
let us cheerfully acknowledge
that we are the last hope of the world,
for we have no excuses,
nobody to blame but ourselves.
Who is going to sit at our feet
and listen while we bewail
our historical sufferings? Who
will ever believe that we also
have wept in the night
with repressed longing to become
our real selves? Who will
stand forth and proclaim
that we have virtues and talents
peculiar to our category? Nobody,
and that is good. For here we are
Maughn Gregory
One is startled at how Berry moves between poems of human intimacy, community and relationship to nature, and poems of political diatribe -- until one realizes that they are two inseparable aspects of his wisdom: his take on what makes a worthwhile life and what makes that possible.
Absolutely stunning. From his love poems, to those against the American way of overindulgence and greed, to the poignant looks at his father, Berry is at the top of my list of American poets.

If you don't read a lot of poetry (or any) this would be a great start!


Colleen O'Neill Conlan
It was The Wild Rose that brought me to this collection, and yes, that poem is lovely. The last section is a series of poems about his father: "he was / my enemy...[and] by God / the truest teacher in my life." The last poem, "Come Forth," is a stunner.

"You look at me, you give a light, which I bear and return, and we are held, and all is held, in this look- we burn and see by our own light."
If nothing else, read the closing set of poems, In Extremis, about addressing his father's death. Hits the nail on the head.
Excellent first section. Fourth section was also of interest, but the middle sections were somewhat letdowns.
my favorite book of poetry by one of my favorite poets
Sarah Pascarella
Berry is my favorite poet.
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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...
Jayber Crow Hannah Coulter The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture The Collected Poems, 1957-1982 Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays

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“How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves”
More quotes…