Preview: Wendell Berry: Poet & Prophet

In an encore presentation this week of Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers profiles one of America’s most influential writers, a passionate advocate for the earth, whose prolific career includes more than forty books of poetry, novels, short stories and essays.

Wendell Berry, whom environmental activist Bill McKibben calls “a prophet of responsibility,” lives and works on the Kentucky farm where his family has lived for 200 years. In addition to being a man of letters, Berry is also one of action. In 2011, he joined a four-day sit-in at the Kentucky governor’s office to protest the mountaintop removal of coal.

“He is one of — if not — the great writer at work in American letters right now. He understood what was happening on this planet a long time before everybody else,” says McKibben.

“The world and our life in it are conditional gifts. We have the world to live in and the use of it on the condition that we will take good care of it,” Berry tells Bill. “And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.”

Wendell Berry: Poet & Prophet is a collaboration between Mannes Productions, Inc. and Schumann Media Center, Inc., headed by Bill Moyers, which supports independent journalism and media programs to advance the understanding of the critical issues of democracy for the benefit of the public.

Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company. Watch the full show »

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  • Anonymous

    Being on this earth at the same time as Wendell Berry is one of the great gifts of my life. His clarity of thought, his words, honesty, righteous indignation and humor guide and prod me. I had the privilege of seeing this conversation as it unfolded live. I look forward to seeing and sharing the produced version.

  • Anonymous

    So looking forward to this. Mr. Berry has been a hero of mine for most of my adult life. He proves that there is sanity in eastern Kentucky.

  • Anne Ryan

    Definitely one of my heroes;

  • GreenJeans

    Looking forward to this…will be time well spent. Thank you once again, Bill Moyers, for your relevant contributions to our culture.

  • Shar J.

    yes, there is so much relevance and grace in becoming more native to our places — was it wendell or gary snyder who coined that idea? so glad you’re still interviewing the great minds, not to mention the lifetime activists. i think a nice follow-up would be wes jackson. have you interviewed him?

  • Franklin Zappowski

    The poets are always the prophets who speak higher truths that elude most people of that particular time and or space.

  • Stasi

    What episode number is this? My PBS station only lists this show by number, not by title of the episode. I don’t want to miss this one, so how can I find out the episode number to record it? Thanks!

  • Alvaro Malo

    Have read many of his books and poetry, I’m hooked on Berry…incidentally, eat blueberries and raspberries for breakfast everyday!

  • Itai

    Stasi, the same is true of my PBS station. I believe that the episode number for the Wendell Berry interview is:

  • settador

    Before anybody else? What about Aldo Leopold, Chief Seattle, and the hundreds, if not thousands of us who recognized the tragedy of the commons a long time ago, but haven’t gained the same recognition? Not to detract from what Wendell has accomplished, nor you either Bill McKibbon–I have read much of what both of you have written, but one must include Lester Brown, and a few others who have been preaching the gospel for quite some time too. Unfortunately, humans seem to be afflicted with a variety of psycho-emotional conditions which render them incapable of rational thought or behavior when it comes to taking personal and collective responsibility for themselves or their life support system. That, I think, is a term coined by Bucky Fuller….