• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

A Poetry Reading by Wendell Berry

Air Date: Week of June 25, 1999

Farmer and author Wendell Berry reads his poem, The Vacation.

Transcript

CURWOOD: After studying, teaching, and traveling, Wendell Berry returned to his homeland of Kentucky more than 30 years ago, and has been living on a farm there ever since. In addition to farming, he writes poetry, fiction, and essays, which often convey his respect for the land and rural communities. He's the author of more than 30 books, including The Gift of Good Land, A Place on Earth, and The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. His most recent publication, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, contains 100 poems written over the last 40 years. Today he reads his poem The Vacation. He says he wrote it after observing one man's way of experiencing the natural world.

BERRY: He was enjoying using his camera, and in that way is a rather typical modern person--in love with gadgets, loving to use them, missing the main show while it was going by.

CURWOOD: Here's Wendell Berry, reading his poem, The Vacation.

BERRY: The Vacation.

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

CURWOOD: That was Wendell Berry. His reading today was a first in an occasional series of poems on Living on Earth.

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.