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Wendell Berry (Wendell Erdman Berry) Biography

(1934– ), (Wendell Erdman Berry), Nathan Coulter, A Place on Earth, The Memory of Old Jack, Remembering

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American poet, novelist, and essayist, born in Henry Country, Kentucky, educated at the University of Kentucky, where he became Distinguished Professor of English in 1971. The intensity of his writing's involvement with the human and natural characters of his native locality has gained him recognition as one of the leading regional writers of the twentieth century. Nathan Coulter (1960), A Place on Earth (1967), The Memory of Old Jack (1974), and Remembering (1988) form a series of novels chronicling social and economic change in a Kentucky tobacco-farming community from the late 1930s onward. A Continuous Harmony (1972), The Gift of Good Land (1981), What Are People for? (1990), and Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community (1993) are among the numerous collections of essays in which his experiences as a farmer and his wide erudition combine in discussing the cultural and economic bases of viable forms of community; he is widely regarded as a leading authority on ecologically sustainable agriculture. The critique of modern materialism that is a recurrent theme in his prose also informs his poetry, collections of which include The Broken Ground (1966), The Country of Marriage (1974), The Wheel (1982), and Sabbaths (1987). His verse displays a high degree of accomplishment in both traditional forms and eloquently direct free verse. Collected Poems 1957–1982 appeared in 1985. Among his other publications is The Wild Birds (1986), a collection of short stories.

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