Wendell Berry

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(Wendell Berry)

A Warning To My Readers

Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.

Wendell Berry was born in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1934. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and continued on to complete a master’s degree in 1957. In 1958, he received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University.

Berry has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, and Bucknell University. He taught at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky from 1964-77, and again from 1987-93.

The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Wendell Berry has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1962), the Vachel Lindsay Prize from Poetry (1962), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (1965), a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing (1971), the Emily Clark Balch Prize from The Virginia Quarterly Review (1974), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award (1987), a Lannan Foundation Award for Non-Fiction (1989), Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers (1991), the Ingersoll Foundation’s T. S. Eliot Award (1994), the John Hay Award (1997), the Lyndhurst Prize (1997), and the Aitken-Taylor Award for Poetry from The Sewanee Review (1998). His books include the novel Hannah Coulter (2004), the essay collections Citizenship Papers (2005) and The Way of Ignorance (2006), and Given: Poems (2005), all available from Counterpoint. Berry’s latest works include The Mad Farmer Poems (2008) and Whitefoot (2009), which features illustrations by Davis Te Selle.

He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Poetry Books

  • The Broken Ground
  • Clearing
  • Collected Poems: 1957-1982
  • The Country of Marriage
  • Entries
  • Farming: A Hand Book
  • Findings
  • Given
  • The Mad Farmer Poems
  • Openings
  • A Part
  • Sabbaths
  • Sayings and Doings
  • The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (1998)
  • A Timbered Choir
  • The Wheel
  • Window Poems



Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky (A fairly up-to-date gathering of internet resources concerning Wendell Berry.)

This website, owned and operated by Br. Tom Murphy, includes links to biographical information about Wendell Berry, interviews, reviews of Berry’s books, title lists, a link to a Wendell Berry discussion list, and much more.


The Failure of War

Wendell Berry’s essay ” The Failure of War” was published in the Winter 2001/2002 issue of YES! Magazine.

The Agrarian Standard

“The Agrarian Standard” was published in Orion Magazine in 2002.


How can a family ‘live at the center of its own attention?’

Holly Brockman interviewed Wendell Berry for the January/February 2006 issue of New Southerner, an online quarterly. The interview, “How can a family ‘live at the center of its own attention’? Wendell Berry’s thoughts on the good life can be found here.

Wendell Berry: A Strong Voice For Local Farming and the Land

For six decades, writer Wendell Berry has spoken out in defense of local agriculture, rural communities, and the importance of caring for the land. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his Kentucky farm, his activism, and why he remains hopeful for the future.

Author, poet, writer, and farmer Wendell Berry, in a public conversation with journalist Eric Schlosser, discusses his influences as a writer, his influences as a spiritual person, his connection to Kentucky, the land and more. He begins the conversation with Schlosser by talking about a term he’s coined—industrial fundamentalism—and continues to talk about the agrarian way of life and how to proceed in this new political era.

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