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A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014 and 2015
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A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014 and 2015

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  25 reviews
More than thirty-five years ago, when the weather allowed, Wendell Berry began spending his sabbaths outdoors, walking and wandering around familiar territory, seeking a deep intimacy only time could provide. These walks arranged themselves into poems and each year since he has completed a sequence dated by the year of its composition. Last year we collected the lot into a ...more
Hardcover, 159 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Counterpoint (first published April 12th 2016)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  153 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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tonia peckover
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I started this book with the essay at the back and then read the poetry and I'm glad I did because it makes Berry's poetry more explicit and meaningful. His essay, "The Presence of Nature in the Natural World: A Long Conversation" concerns our western understanding of Nature as first a kind of diety - or at least an active Personality - as illuminated by Chaucer, Spenser and Alan of Lille and later as a benign, general presence to which we escape from the "real" world. He explains how this chang ...more
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, poetry
Gathering poems Berry wrote during his sabbaths of 2014 and 2015, this book serves as a follow-up to This Day: New and Collected Sabbath Poems 1979 - 2012 which gathered previous years. While a long essay makes up half the book, I found the poetry strong, exhibiting Berry's characteristic reflections on the relations of man and nature. This is not the place to start with Berry but it is an excellent addition to his body of work.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, nature
Also a permanent member of the 'currently reading' list....
Nick Klagge
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is about half poems and half an extended essay called "The Presence of Nature in the Natural World." The poems are pretty consistent with his earlier "Sabbath poems," and I can't say I really got anything incremental out of reading them. (To some extent this sort of seems like the point to me; if you take a cyclical view of nature and life, there can't be much additional value to reading 10% more poems on the same topic by the same person--maybe better to re-read a smaller number!)

Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A few of the poems I really enjoyed. His thoughts on the representation of nature in English literature, and his reaction against Romantic idealizers, I found quite interesting though outside of my wheelhouse. His defense against the "dumb farmer" trope concluding the book was my favorite take, even if it is boilerplate Wendell.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Beautiful poems about seeing nature as sacred. The author observes the changing of the season earth through eyes of deep gratitude.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The poetry was good, but I think the essay "The Presence of Nature in the Natural World: A Long Conversation"—in which Berry traces a certain conception of nature from Alan of Lille's The Plaint of Nature through Chaucer, Spenser, Piers Plowman, Milton, Pope, and Wordsworth through to the present—is the real gem of the collection.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the poems more than the essay, but that is more due to my ineptness in reading Chaucer than any fault of Wendell Berry's. This is a serious book with Wendell calling out for us to work hard on saving the world as we know it. It is a wonderful book. I feel blessed to have read it.
"To care for what we know requires
care for what we don't, the world's lives
dark in the soil, dark in the dark.

And our competence to do no
permanent wrong to the land
is limited by the land's competenc
James Murphy
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
For more than 30 years Berry has been walking around his rural Kentucky property and writing his impressions he calls "Sabbath" poems. A Small Porch continues the series through 2014 and 2015. I thought them disappointing. I'm not sure why except that their energy failed to excite me as the previous "Sabbaths" had. The 2d half of the book is made up of an essay entitled "The Presence of Nature in the Natural World." He calls it a conversation, and it concerns itself with the relation of science ...more
Rachel A.  Dawson
I just love everything I've ever read from Berry, and this collection of Sabbath poems is no different. It's more nature/agriculture/environment focused than some of his other collections, but powerful and beautiful and organic and rich nonetheless. I loved these poems and flagged many of them for future re-reads!
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, poetry
This is Wendell Berry's latest book (June 2016). It is 3 parts - two Sabbath poems, one essay. The essay discusses man's dealings with nature and makes an excellent read. I liked the poetry, but I'd recommend one of his larger collections if you haven't read him before. However, this book is a great start for both poetry and an essay!
Sue Whitt
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Poems followed by an essay on care of the earth
Jake Willems
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another beautiful book of poetry.
J.K. George
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
Reviewing a book of poetry is somewhat foreign to me; I don't read many books of poetry, and I'm not even close to being an expert on the matter. However something about Wendell Berry reached me. He lives in Henry County, KY, a rural area between Louisville and Cincinnati, and maintains what appears to be a lifestyle of a reader and thinker who is not all that impressed with what we generally call "progress" in the sense of industrialization and growth. The first half, roughly, of the book is co ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This collection includes some very fine poems and a long essay on the necessity of living in right relationship to nature, the environment, and the natural resources that we humans are dependent on for our survival and the survival of the plants and the critters that share this planet with us. There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift from exploitation and prodigality to care-taking and conservation, and it must start at the local level.

I am a sixty-nine year old man, one who is growing more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Belatedly delving into Wendell Berry. I loved the long essay that makes the second part of this book, where Berry looks at how nature appears in English poetry, from the 12th-century book "On the Plaint of Nature," by Alan of Lille, through Chaucer and Spenser to Wordsworth and the Romantics. It's a dense essay (I must reread!) but essentially he sees the earlier poets writing of Nature as a figure we're interdependent with, and one that demands of us that we exercise our human virtues (like hum ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wendell Berry has been one of my teachers for many, many years--since I first read "Home Economics." In this collection of his poetry and an extended essay on Nature and our relationship (or lack of), he is once again teacher, professor, and poet. He calls me to greater attentiveness to the world I live in, the rabbit tracks in the snow, the red tailed hawk in the tree, and to the damage I do to this world and to my soul by not paying attention.

For anyone who lives in the world aware of our depr
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The long essay included in this volume is a bit meandering, but has some real insight. It contains many of the these touched on in the poems. We are so disconnected from the rhythm and flow of nature. Industrialization is destroying us and the planet. These are particularly novel assertions, but Berry is able to dive into the spiritual meaning of it. I would highly recommend this particular book to anyone who hasn't thought much about our connection with nature.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This was my first Wendell Berry collection, and although I loved the fiction I read by him, I didn’t connect as well with his poetry. Does anyone have a recommendation for a different poetry collection I might like better?
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed these Sabbath poems.
Michele Morin
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I meandered through this book, savoring the short poems and taking the longer essays in pieces. Always always always Berry's words open the door to another way of seeing.
Joel Martin
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2016, christian, poetry
Must return to the library. It is sometimes a slog for me to read poetry, and I just didn't get to this one fast enough.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Somewhere between a 3 and a half and a 4, leaning closer to 4.
Zach Turner
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Jul 15, 2018
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Dec 24, 2017
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Dec 21, 2017
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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."