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Best Wendell Berry Quotes

Wendell Berry Quotes About Nature, Life, Farming, Community, Love, Food, Marriage, Home, Hope, Goodreads & Success! Known for his work as a novelist, critic, and farmer, Wendell Erdman Berry is a well-known name in American culture. In 1934, he was born on 5 August. In 1948, he entered secondary school at Millersburg Military Institute, where he finished after four years of study. In 1952, he was accepted into the University and graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English literature. While at Stanford University in 1959–60, he taught creative writing and released his debut book, “Nathan Coulter,” the first in the Port William series.

Wendell Berry Quotes

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He visited Italy and France in 1961 as part of a Guggenheim Foundation grant. He met Wallace Fowlie, an American writer, translator, and literature professor. He has published more than 40 volumes throughout his life, including essays, fiction, and poetry. His life and work are a testament to his morals and principles. His best-known works are ‘The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,’ which examines the failures of contemporary, machine-based living, ‘New Farm Magazine and Organic Gardening and Farming,’ and agricultural treatises that address green elements of farming.

“The Broken Ground” is about life on the farm, and “The Unsettling of America” looks at the roots of contemporary American society through the lens of farming and the family unit. Authors like Berry are a reminder of the beauty and simplicity of life in today’s technologically advanced society.

The versatile writer received the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award (2013), the National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer Award in 2012. To date, he is the only living writer to be inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. Berry’s dedication to frugality and appreciation of the natural world may teach us a lot.

Best Wendell Berry Quotes

1. “To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” – Wendell Berry

2. “We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?” – Wendell Berry

3. “The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.” – Wendell Berry

4. “Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.” – Wendell Berry

5. “It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.” – Wendell Berry

6. “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” – Wendell Berry

7. “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry

8. “I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry

9. “Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.” – Wendell Berry

10. “There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns, again and again, to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” – Wendell Berry

11. “People use drugs, legal and illegal because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.” – Wendell Berry

12. “The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking.” – Wendell Berry

13. “If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.” – Wendell Berry

14. “The uplands of my home country in north-central Kentucky are sloping and easily eroded, dependent for safekeeping upon year-round cover of perennial plants.” – Wendell Berry

15. “Industrial agriculture characteristically proceeds by single solutions to single problems: If you want the most money from your land this year, grow the crops for which the market price is highest.” – Wendell Berry

16. “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood Drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.” – Wendell Berry

17. “Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” – Wendell Berry

18. “Telling a story is like reaching into a granary full of wheat and drawing out a handful. There is always more to tell than can be told.” – Wendell Berry

19. “Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest.” – Wendell Berry

20. “To hear of a thousand deaths in war is terrible, and we ‘know’ that it is. But as it registers on our hearts, it is not more terrible than one death fully imagined.” – Wendell Berry

21. “It is a horrible fact that we can read in the daily paper, without interrupting our breakfast, numerical reckonings of death and destruction that ought to break our hearts or scare us out of our wits.” – Wendell Berry

22. “For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless.” – Wendell Berry

23. “The fertility cycle is a cycle entirely of living creatures passing again and again through birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay.” – Wendell Berry

24. “Annual plants are nature’s emergency medical service, seeded in sounds and scars to hold the land until the perennial cover is re-established.” – Wendell Berry

25. “I prayed like a man walking in a forest at night, feeling his way with his hands, at each step fearing to fall into pure bottomlessness forever. Prayer is like lying awake at night, afraid, with your head under the cover, hearing only the beating of your own heart.” – Wendell Berry

26. “We cannot comprehend what comprehends us.” – Wendell Berry

27. “These are people who are capable of devotion, public devotion, to justice. They meant what they said and every day that passes, they mean it more.” – Wendell Berry

28. “I’m a writer more than I am a talker.” – Wendell Berry

29. “We’re all complicit in the things we may be trying to oppose. I’m complicit in the things that I’m trying to oppose.” – Wendell Berry

30. “The only time I’ve been arrested was in opposing the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in Indiana. That was in 1979.” – Wendell Berry

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