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Farming, a Hand Book

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  209 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The America many people would like to believe in is convincingly explored in this volume of poems by a writer close to the heart of things. The sanity and eloquence of these poems spring from the land in Kentucky where Wendell Berry was born, married, lives, farms, and writes. From classic pastoral themes both lyrical and reflective, to a verse play, to a dramatic narrativ
Paperback, 118 pages
Published March 1st 1971 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P (first published 1970)
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Brian Tucker
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I just feel silly giving his works anything less than 5.
Feb 09, 2009 rated it liked it
When I checked out this book I was extremely excited: a farming handbook by my new found mentor, Wendell Berry! Alas, I was disappointed when I saw that it was a book of poetry. I decided to give it a chance however and was pleasantly surprised. Berry writes the sort of poetry that I like: accessible, impressionist-like imagery, unique, interesting arresting use of words, etc. And about rural themes to boot! I raced through it because it became due at the library suddenly, otherwise I'd have cop ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Curiously, I found my way into this book of poems through a historical work on American space by J.B. Jackson. It's the first item in his bibliography; It's a great choice for understanding the topography of farming in America, and the constant churn in the landscape. It has four sections, broken down into three sections of poetry, and a particularly poignant play in the penultimate spot. I'd recommend it to anyone in search of a concise look at the American attitude about the land, at least in ...more
Patrick Walsh
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Time spent reading poetry, especially Wendell Berry's poetry, is always time well spent.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I wasn't a fan of the play in the middle, the poems were great.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
As much as my own poetry writing instincts veer toward nature poetry, I get only moderate enjoyment out of reading it. I don't read much poetry, but those poems I like best usually contain a surprising turn in the last couple of lines. Not all of these Berry poems lack this quality, but I think it's safe to say this strategic element isn't his goal. Rather, I would say that Berry's purposes are to observe, reflect on, and honor the subjects and settings of his poems, and this he achieves effecti ...more
Daniel Pfahl
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wendell Berry orbits closely to the heart of life we really should take care to notice. The title would have you believe the book is on farming but rather it is closer to exposing the life and ethics our mind and heart miss but our lifestyle and community values drown out. Beautiful imagery and stark honesty.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I'm surprised I didn't know about Wendell Berry before. These poems embody much of the romanticism of farm life, but there's a grittiness to them. Berry seems to be saying that yes, living off the land is hard and sometimes harsh, but it's what man was meant for, and there's a spiritual reward in it that you'll never find in a city.
I'll have to chase down more of his work.
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My first introduction to poetry beyond nursery rhymes. This book planted the seed that grew into a desire to shape words to show how I see the world. Not perfect, but as close as you can get this side of heaven.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It was a wonderful read. The simplicity of the poems, rooted in his life and work around the farm, with brief asides to his traveling and writing life, are very interesting. The little play near the end speaks powerfully to life and death and marriage and community. I loved this little book.
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, simple, complex, earthy, elemental. Poems of protest, poems of celebration. Thank you, Mistaaa Berry.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think it's good to read. Yeah, I hope it will help us on our project.
Kate McKinstry
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-own
Absolutely gorgeous, honest, and earthy thoughts put into words. This book was my introduction to Wendell Berry, and I'm absolutely hooked.
Caitlin Etherton
one of my favorite of his poetry books to date
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
A few gems in particular stood out to me. "The Morning's News" and "The Mad Farmer in the City" and "The Satisfactions of the Mad Farmer" come to mind. Lovely earthy book.
Maughn Gregory
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I have rarely been so deeply moved.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poetry on the very human task of farming. Warm, heart-filled words that perform the task of showing how diverse and soulful a life in agriculture can be.
Jordan Kinsey
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This past week, Wendell Berry has felt less like an indulgence and more like a medication necessary to sustain life.
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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
“Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” 576 likes
“I will purge my mind of the airy claims
of church and state, and observe the ancient wisdom
of tribesman and peasant, who understood
they labored on the earth only to lie down in it
in peace, and were content. I will serve the earth
and not pretend my life could be better served.”
More quotes…