New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry
If he was a singer, this would be the greatest hits album. A director, this would be the director’s cut. But, among many other things, Wendell Berry is a farmer-poet – a poet of place, in Port Royal, Kentucky, at Lane’s Landing, his hillside farm, – and New Collected Poems is his pick of his work over the last forty-five years. These poems represent the face he would show to the world.
“I am done with apologies. If contrariness is my
inheritance and destiny, so be it. If it is my mission
to go in at exits and come out at entrances, so be it...."
This is a lovely, readable, satisfying collection of poems of all shapes and sizes – some as short as this:
“Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.”
His poems are quiet in their way, but often provocative, and they proclaim the farmer’s love and connection to land, work, family and the natural world.
“….our lives rise in speech to our children’s tongues.
They will tell how we once stood
together here, two trees
whose lives in annual sheddings
made their way into this ground,
whose bodies turned to earth
and song. The song will tell
how old love sweetens the fields.”