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  •  Doheny Memorial Library, USC — Room 240 3550 Trousdale Parkway Los Angeles, CA, 90089 United States (map)

Location: Doheny Library (USC), Room 240


Morning session: Wendell Berry, the poet (David St. John, Christopher Merrill)

Afternoon session: Wendell Berry, the social and environmental activist (Sara Atwood)


A screening of “Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” will round out the day

Coffee/baked goods & lunch provided.

Presentations by David St. John, Christopher Merrill, and Sara Atwood

Poetry readings: Elena Karina Byrne and Gabriel Meyer, with a special screening of "Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” (produced by Robert Redford, Terrence Malick & Nick Offermann and directed by Laura Dunn, 2016)

 In 1965, poet Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, Kentucky, where he bought a small farm house and began a life of farming, writing and teaching. This lifelong relationship with the land and community would come to form the core of his prolific writings. A half century later, Henry County, like many rural communities across America, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, the agrarian virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies and rootedness to place have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt - all of which have frayed the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 rural communities. In the course of this unfolding struggle, Berry, one of the great Ruskinians of our day, has become one of the most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.

Poet David St. John currently serves as Chair of the USC English Dept. and is one of the founding members of the PhD program in Creative Writing and Literature. Christopher Merrill is an American poet, essayist, journalist and translator. Currently he serves as director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Dr.  Sara Atwood is adjunct professor in English Literature at Portland State University and has written extensively on the thought of John Ruskin.