Wendell Berry - Environmentalists, Facts and Childhood

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Wendell Berry's Personal Details

Wendell Berry is an American author famous for his writings on nature and ecology

InformationDetail
BirthdayAugust 5, 1934
NationalityAmerican
FamousEnvironmentalists, Writers, Poets
IdeologiesEnvironmentalists
City/StateKentucky
SpousesTanya Amyx
Known asWendell Erdman Berry
Universities
  • University of Kentucky
Birth Place Henry County
GenderMale
FatherJohn Marshall Berry
MotherVirginia Erdman Berry
Sun SignLeo
Born inHenry County

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Wendell Berry's photo

Who is Wendell Berry?

Wendell Erdman Berry is a famous American author, critic and farmer who helped people in diagnosing the nature and the range of the problems faced by them in a constructive way. He is a keen environmental activist who has highlighted the problems of soil loss and degradation, toxic pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and the destruction of rural communities. Berry’s writings were based on ecologically sound way of life and revived the connection between people and nature. He defined patriotism in a new way as the love for the land under one’s feet and for those who live upon it. His goal is to bring health to the environment through responsible agriculture and according to him that is the only permanent way to restore the depleted earth. He explored three major themes: agriculture, its history and present condition; marriage and domesticity; and the uses of education. Berry had an unorthodox academic career as he focused on a less-noticed theme, the historical evolution of the land, which is a formative and crucial element of nearly every nation. His novels portray America’s rural history and his essays on ecological responsibilities developed from his own experience as a farmer.

// Famous Environmentalists

Childhood & Early Life

He was born to John Marshall Berry, a lawyer and official with the Burley Tobacco Growers Association; and his wife Virginia Erdman Berry. His family had a rich farming history which played a pivotal role in shaping up his thoughts as a child.

He enrolled in a secondary school at Millersburg Military Institute in 1948 from where he graduated after four years.

In 1952, he got admitted to University and passed out in 1957 after earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English literature.

Career

In 1957, he began teaching English at Georgetown College after completion of his studies, and soon after he entered Stanford University where he studied creative writing as a Wallace Stegner fellow.

During 1959–60, he taught creative writing at Stanford University and it was this time when he published his first novel ‘Nathan Coulter’ which was the first title in Port William series. It carries a brief description of the rural section of Kentucky, a place with which he had a lifelong fascination.

In 1961, he went to Italy and France on a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. There he met Wallace Fowlie, an American writer, translator and professor of Literature.

During 1962–64, he taught English to freshman at University Heights Campus in the Bronx at New York University. At the end of it, he began teaching creative writing at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. It was during this time that he met writer Guy Davenport, writer and mystic Thomas Merton, and photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

In 1964, he published his first poetry book called ‘November twenty six nineteen hundred sixty three’. It contained a single poem memorializing the death of the President John F. Kennedy.

In 1965, he moved to Lane’s Landing farm near Port Royal, Kentucky where he wrote and farmed extensively. Its description can be found in his essays: ‘The Long-Legged House’ and ‘A native Hill’.

During 1970s and early 1980s, he edited and wrote for Roadale—an American publisher of health and wellness magazines and books..

In 1987, he returned to the English Department of University of Kentucky to teach courses in Literature and Education. In the same year he received an honorary doctorate from Santa Clara University and was appointed as a writer in residence by Becknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Major Works

On February 9, 2003, his essay, ‘A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States’, was published as a full page advertisement placed by ‘Orion Magazine’ in the New York Times

On January 4, 2009, he published an open edition article titled ‘50-Year Farm Bill’ in New York Times along with the president of the Land Institute, Wes Jackson. It concentrated chiefly on the National Agricultural Policy based on ecological principles. Soon in July, he travelled to Washington DC for its promotion among the general as well as rural public.

In October, 2009, he appealed for the cancellation of construction of a coal-burning power plant in Clark County, Kentucky, in a joint protest along with the Berea-based Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF) and several other non-profit organizations.

In February, 2011, he insisted Kentucky government to put an end to mountaintop removal coal mining along with the 14 other protestors as a part of the environmental group ‘Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’. He was locked up in the Kentucky governor’s office for this remonstration.

In 2011, he established ‘The Berry Center’ at New Castle, Kentucky to bring into light issues of land use, farm policy, local food infrastructure, urban education about farming, and farmer education that is lacking in Kentucky and the country as a whole.

Awards & Achievements

In 1967, he was awarded the ‘Bess Hokin Prize’ offered by the Poetry Magazine for his poem.

In 1969, he won a ‘Borestone Mountain Poetry Award’ and also received a ‘National Endowment of the Arts Grant’ that supported and funded his projects.

In 1971, he was named as ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’ by University of Kentucky. In the same year, he received National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for excellence in writing.

In 1975, he received ‘Friends for American Writers Award’ for ‘The Memory of Old Jack’. The book conveyed the truth and integrity of the land and the people who lived in it through the eyes of a retired farmer in Kentucky.

In 1989, he received the ‘Lannan Foundation Award’ for Non-fiction. In the same year, he delivered a commencement address to graduating students at ‘College of the Atlantic’, USA.

In 1992, he received ‘Victory Spirit Ethics Award’ from the Louisville Community Foundation, University of Louisville. In the following year, he received ‘Kentucky Libraries Award’ for Intellectual Excellence and ‘John Hay Award’, Orion Society.

In 1994, he received the ‘Aiken Taylor Award’ from the Sewanee Review for his poetry. He also received ‘T.S. Eliot Award’ from the Ingersoll Foundation in the same year.

He is the fellow of Temenos Academy, Britain where he frequently contributes to the annual college magazine ‘Temenos Academy Review’. The academy is under the patronage of the Prince of Wales.

In 2012, he received a membership of a literary organization, the ‘Fellowship of Southern Writers’. He also won the ‘National Humanities Medal’ for his contribution to the field of writing and humanities.

In 2013, he gained the fellowship of ‘The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’, one of the oldest and prestigious honorary societies.

Personal Life

In 1955, while doing graduation, he met Tanya Amyx, the daughter of a Art Professor at University of Kentucky. They finally married on May 29, 1957 and had two children: a daughter Mary Dee and a son Prior Clifford (Den).

Trivia

He is an outspoken believer and promoter of small town American life, ecological conservation and traditional farming techniques.

// Famous Poets

Wendell Berry awards

YearNameAward

Other

2000Poets' Prize for The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
1999Thomas Merton Award
1994Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry
2006Art of Fact Award for non-fiction
2006Kentuckian of the Year Award for his writing and his efforts to bring attention to environmental issues in eastern Kentucky
2008Premio Artusi
2009The Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement
2010The National Humanities Medal
2012The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award
John Hay Award
Jean Stein Award
T.S. Eliot Award

Wendell Berry biography timelines

  • // 5th Aug 1934
    He was born to John Marshall Berry, a lawyer and official with the Burley Tobacco Growers Association; and his wife Virginia Erdman Berry. His family had a rich farming history which played a pivotal role in shaping up his thoughts as a child.
  • // 1948
    He enrolled in a secondary school at Millersburg Military Institute in 1948 from where he graduated after four years.
  • // 1952 To 1957
    In 1952, he got admitted to University and passed out in 1957 after earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English literature.
  • // 1957
    In 1957, he began teaching English at Georgetown College after completion of his studies, and soon after he entered Stanford University where he studied creative writing as a Wallace Stegner fellow.
  • // 29th May 1957
    In 1955, while doing graduation, he met Tanya Amyx, the daughter of a Art Professor at University of Kentucky. They finally married on May 29, 1957 and had two children: a daughter Mary Dee and a son Prior Clifford (Den).
  • // 1959 To 1960
    During 1959–60, he taught creative writing at Stanford University and it was this time when he published his first novel ‘Nathan Coulter’ which was the first title in Port William series. It carries a brief description of the rural section of Kentucky, a place with which he had a lifelong fascination.
  • // 1961
    In 1961, he went to Italy and France on a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. There he met Wallace Fowlie, an American writer, translator and professor of Literature.
  • // 1962 To 1964
    During 1962–64, he taught English to freshman at University Heights Campus in the Bronx at New York University. At the end of it, he began teaching creative writing at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. It was during this time that he met writer Guy Davenport, writer and mystic Thomas Merton, and photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard.
  • // 1964
    In 1964, he published his first poetry book called ‘November twenty six nineteen hundred sixty three’. It contained a single poem memorializing the death of the President John F. Kennedy.
  • // 1965
    In 1965, he moved to Lane’s Landing farm near Port Royal, Kentucky where he wrote and farmed extensively. Its description can be found in his essays: ‘The Long-Legged House’ and ‘A native Hill’.
  • // 1967
    In 1967, he was awarded the ‘Bess Hokin Prize’ offered by the Poetry Magazine for his poem.
  • // 1969
    In 1969, he won a ‘Borestone Mountain Poetry Award’ and also received a ‘National Endowment of the Arts Grant’ that supported and funded his projects.
  • // 1971
    In 1971, he was named as ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’ by University of Kentucky. In the same year, he received National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for excellence in writing.
  • // 1975
    In 1975, he received ‘Friends for American Writers Award’ for ‘The Memory of Old Jack’. The book conveyed the truth and integrity of the land and the people who lived in it through the eyes of a retired farmer in Kentucky.
  • // 1987
    In 1987, he returned to the English Department of University of Kentucky to teach courses in Literature and Education. In the same year he received an honorary doctorate from Santa Clara University and was appointed as a writer in residence by Becknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • // 1989
    In 1989, he received the ‘Lannan Foundation Award’ for Non-fiction. In the same year, he delivered a commencement address to graduating students at ‘College of the Atlantic’, USA.
  • // 1992
    In 1992, he received ‘Victory Spirit Ethics Award’ from the Louisville Community Foundation, University of Louisville. In the following year, he received ‘Kentucky Libraries Award’ for Intellectual Excellence and ‘John Hay Award’, Orion Society.
  • // 1994
    In 1994, he received the ‘Aiken Taylor Award’ from the Sewanee Review for his poetry. He also received ‘T.S. Eliot Award’ from the Ingersoll Foundation in the same year.
  • // Feb 2003
    On February 9, 2003, his essay, ‘A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States’, was published as a full page advertisement placed by ‘Orion Magazine’ in the New York Times
  • // Jan 2009
    On January 4, 2009, he published an open edition article titled ‘50-Year Farm Bill’ in New York Times along with the president of the Land Institute, Wes Jackson. It concentrated chiefly on the National Agricultural Policy based on ecological principles. Soon in July, he travelled to Washington DC for its promotion among the general as well as rural public.
  • // Oct 2009
    In October, 2009, he appealed for the cancellation of construction of a coal-burning power plant in Clark County, Kentucky, in a joint protest along with the Berea-based Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF) and several other non-profit organizations.
  • // Feb 2011
    In February, 2011, he insisted Kentucky government to put an end to mountaintop removal coal mining along with the 14 other protestors as a part of the environmental group ‘Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’. He was locked up in the Kentucky governor’s office for this remonstration.
  • // 2012
    In 2012, he received a membership of a literary organization, the ‘Fellowship of Southern Writers’. He also won the ‘National Humanities Medal’ for his contribution to the field of writing and humanities.
  • // 2013
    In 2013, he gained the fellowship of ‘The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’, one of the oldest and prestigious honorary societies.

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Wendell Berry's FAQ

  • What is Wendell Berry birthday?

    Wendell Berry was born at 1934-08-05

  • Where is Wendell Berry's birth place?

    Wendell Berry was born in Henry County

  • What is Wendell Berry nationalities?

    Wendell Berry's nationalities is American

  • What is Wendell Berry ideologies?

    Wendell Berry's ideologies is Environmentalists

  • Who is Wendell Berry spouses?

    Wendell Berry's spouses is Tanya Amyx

  • What was Wendell Berry universities?

    Wendell Berry studied at University of Kentucky

  • Who is Wendell Berry's father?

    Wendell Berry's father is John Marshall Berry

  • Who is Wendell Berry's mother?

    Wendell Berry's mother is Virginia Erdman Berry

  • What is Wendell Berry's sun sign?

    Wendell Berry is Leo