Reviews in 200 Words

Leavings by Wendell Berry

In Poetry on November 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Wendell Berry’s life seems to be a field of wheat: subtly moving, growing, golden. He contemplates new things, and very old things. Berry makes you feel guilty about your life, in a good way. Sit alone in a dark room with a single light and think giant thoughts, about snow and land and the Big Bang. As gentle and seemingly saint-like Berry is, he isn’t without humor, or hatred. In fact, he hates Alice in Wonderland. Thank god. Berry thinks of the little things as big things, “I love the courage / of the little black ants / who when disturbed / come out of their old / fencepost as big dogs / come after a rat., / take hold of me, / shake me, and growl.” In the end, Berry leaves us thinking about what we leave: we all think that what we have is what we are…not true according to a man who can sit on a log in the woods for free and have a full day. In the end, Berry dares us to spend more time being like the wheat, because, “how simple to be dead.”


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