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Wendell Berry, The Seer

Wendell Berry, The Seer

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, April 24, 2016/Categories: natural history, video, sustainability, art and design, environment

                      Wendell Berry of Kentucky (photo credit: The Seer, a Portrait of Wendell Berry)

Several contemporatry writers are recognized for their emphasis on representing the "importance of place" in their work. Authors such as Ivan Doig (This House of Sky); Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony); Gretel Ehrlich (The Solace of Open Spaces); and Jim Harrison (Legends of the Fall) are fine examples. Wendell Berry writes essays, poems, and novels that fit well in this literary category.

Berry has focused his attention on rural agricultural life, the people who live on the land, the environment that surrounds them, and the deline of family farms. Now a documentary film, The Seer, produced by documentary filmmaker Laura Dunn received excellent reviews during an early screening at South by Southwest (SxSW), the technology and media festival. Speaking about the new documentary, the festival organizers said:

In the span of a generation, virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, local economies and rootedness to place have been supplanted by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt - all of which have frayed the fabric of communities. Writing from a long wooden desk beneath a forty-paned window in Henry County, Kentucky, Wendell Berry has watched this struggle unfold, becoming one the most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.

Berry's words helped awaken 'memories of place' that everyone can remember and he helped bring appreciation of the environment and what has been sacrificed by large scale production agriculture. The Seer now begins the long process of screening at more festivals to tell its visual story of Berry and his work. With luck, the documentary will be picked up for national theater distribution so it reaches a wide audience.

WHB

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