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The Country of Marriage

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Each of the thirty-five poems in this collection is concerned with our relationship to nature, to all of humanity, and, ultimately, to God and the powers of creation. The farmer and his land, marriage and the family, form the central images. The long title poem, perhaps the finest single work in the book, is a grave, moving, and beauti- fully wrought love poem. The shorter ...more
Paperback, 53 pages
Published October 1st 1975 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P (first published 1973)
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4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  288 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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David Kern
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the collection of poetry that I love the most.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
It's National Poetry Month and I have been having a hard time finding books I'm in the mood to read (for every book I read and review picture 2-3 started and strewn around my house) - but I'm recording a podcast this week with a friend who loves Wendell Berry. And this past summer at a contemplative pedagogy retreat, we were read a Berry poem during one of our meditation sessions. It was perfect, written about Kentucky by a Kentucky man.

So I went poking around in Berry poetry collections, taste
...more
Stephen Hicks
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
There’s something so homey about Berry’s poetry; a pervasive sense of pleased contentment with the place around you. And it is not romanticized in my opinion. Reading these poems causes a strangely pleasant tempering of life’s chaotic pace. I honestly didn’t think any single poem was incredibly enrapturing, but this collection as a whole was a much-needed dose of clear remembrance amongst the modern fog of forgetfulness.

My personal favorites were probably “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation F
...more
Tiffany Davidson
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A short book of poetry, perfect for finishing in one sitting. Wendell Berry really shines - his words seeming riper than ever. The book explores relationships and death, with landscape being the common thread. I found myself scribbling line after line into my journal to return to often.
Hannah
I cried.
Dan Gobble
This slim volume contains an earthy wisdom won from hands shoved deep into native soil, carried by feet which have borne the poet deep into forests and over clods in furrowed field where roots were sank generations before he fell into the long line of succeeding generations which have lived their life out in place.
In these poems I find a rhythmic wisdom echoing the seasons, celebrating the renewal of springtime mud and green shoots of promise; the work and sweat of summer's labors; the longed fo
...more
Thomas Davis
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wendell Berry is one of my favorite poets, and The Country of Marriage is one of my favorite books of poetry. Berry is not Shakespeare. His poetry is not filled with drama, thunder, and lightning. Rather, there is a common vein of gold that integrates with life as we really live it in his poems. The title poem, "The Country of Marriage," is, in some ways, as unadorned as a rusted bucket of flowers put out on the front porch facing a deeply flowing river. It reminds us that lifetime love has a so ...more
Brian Wasserman
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I was all excited as having found a Wendell Berry book I had never heard of before. Now after reading more it, Im not terribly impressed.. yes there are some good poems. His best work in my opinion is Farming: A Handbook. This book should have had an objective critique, many times it seems like interjections of political ramblings wrapped up in pretentious phrases. Some of the poems are so rough, they shouldnt have been included or even they are too amateur. It is too easy to fall back reference ...more
Demetrius Rogers
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Very good. I'm getting to know Berry's perspective and voice pretty well. I'm not sure I take it hook, line, and sinker. I'm uneasy with the idea that death is as good as Berry makes it out to be. He seems to think death is some kind of reabsorption, where your body is reunited with it's native elements. Seems like I detect a hint of Platonism, mixed with a variant of transcendentalism. At any rate, and on a more basic level, I take Berry to be a prophet of contentment. And his poetry is not onl ...more
Miles Smith
This is a beutiful and relativly early collection of poems from Berry. They're still agrarian poems, but they also contain the most viscerally erotic imagery in any of his poetry. It is not a carnal or voyeuristic poetry, but there is very much the sense of earthy familiarity and intimacy that pervades his ideals of sex and place. If you like Berry, you'll love these.
Sierra
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Closer to 3.5. There are a couple of really stand out poems in it!
Barbara
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 A cohesive collection of poems regarding nature and the characteristics of marriage. A stand out poem was Her First Calf.
Wayne
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wendell Berry’s writing is my go-to. Words full of gentle wisdom about land and nature, community and family, and the strangeness and wonder that fills life with ‘life’.
Renee
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful collection of poems. Turning the last pages made me wish for more .
Angie Clevinger
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
It’s very topic driven—but creationism can encompass much more. I think the author missed many opportunities to creative within this theme.
Michelle
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some of my commonplace entries from this book!
From "The Country of Marriage"
"You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
and you are the known place to which the unknown is always leading me back."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"
"everyday do something that won't compute
Love the Lord.
Love the World.
Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace t
...more
Mark
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, poetry, favorites
This is perhaps my favorite title by one of America's best living writers, Wendell Berry. I've read it before, and re-read individual poems many times. I simply encourage anyone reading this comment, to read The Country of Marriage. It is tender, insightful, sometimes complex, sometimes simple. I believe -- to use a word rarely used and when used often used wrongly -- I believe these poems are wise.

One poem that struck me upon this complete reading of the book is the second in the book:

Willing t
...more
Mason Bolton
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I decided to read Wendell Berry's poetry after reading his essays, and this seemed to be his most universally liked. It's not bad, but I don't find this poetry to be terribly good either. It reads to me very much like a first effort, which makes sense given how early this was written in Berry's writing career. There are moments in this collection that are quite beautiful and poignant, but overall, like some others, I left this collection longing for the same beauty and depth with which Berry has ...more
Kerri Anne
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetic
The roots of Berry's poems aren't as deep as the roots that grow sturdy shoots he mines for his short stories and essays. But some of his poems read like lyrics from a Bob Dylan album: well-grown, with just the right balance of forlorn/vagabond/love-song.

[Three stars for the persistent music in us.]

Artemisia Hunt
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wendell Berry is much more than just a poet.... An essayist, an activist, a philosopher and a farmer. So each time I pick up a volume of his poetry, I am not only in awe of the beauty of his simple words, but also of his deep values and loving care for all that is most meaningful and elemental to life that he speaks of with such quiet elegance.
Nathanael Myers
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this nearly twenty years ago, and after I picked it up and started reading it again this past week, I came across many lines I still remembered. That, more than anything else I might say, is a recommendation to read this slim volume of poetry.
Danny Daley
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Essayist, poet, philosopher, farmer. Berry is one of my favorite poets, his words always simple but insightful. This is one of many very good coolections from Berry.
Jordan Kinsey
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful poetry, elegantly assembled.
Katie
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
A solid if slightly off-kilter collection. Berry is best when his poetry approaches prose in its style and length (see: "The Mad Farmer Manifesto").
Matt
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. Should be required reading.
Ron
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This book contains a copy of "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" which is more commonly known as Practice Resurrection.
Mallory Pickering
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Berry prepares a feast. I felt centered and stilled when I slowly passed through these poems. That's rare for me.
Jenna
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it


After reading his essays the poems mostly just don't do it anymore. Except for the Mad Farmer.
Sean A.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Earthen, elegiac, and loving.
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2,003 followers
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."
“So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years...Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts....Practice resurrection.” 143 likes
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