Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.9 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Wendell Berry is the author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For over forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.

Gary Snyder is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry and prose. Since 1970 he has lived in the watershed of the South Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, Snyder has also been awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. His 1992 collection, No Nature, was a National Book Award finalist, and in 2008 he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Snyder is a poet, environmentalist, educator and Zen Buddhist.


Candid, introspective and often deeply philosophical, these letters offer intimate glimpses into the lives and minds of two influential contemporary writers. --Kirkus

The letters are valuable for ecologists, students and teachers of contemporary American literature and for those of us eager to know how these two distant neighbors networked, negotiated and remained friends. --San Francisco Chronicle

[...] distills the decades-long flourishing of a remarkable friendship and documents the careers of two important living American writers, natural philosophers, and conservationists. --Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Distant Neighbors: the Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder...showcases these two great American poet-philosophers at most thoughtful and least guarded. Decades of correspondence drill down through the layers of their concerns - land use, economics, farming, wild nature, the life of the spirit, modernity itself - as they struggle to live within a culture tearing itself up by its roots. --Paul Kingsnorth's pick for one of New Stateman's Books of the Year

Both poets and essayists have written extensively on ecology and our relationship with the natural environment. But their correspondence reveals as many points of difference - of opinion, of region, of background - as similarity, and lively and thoughtful dialogue on many topics, along with fellowship and a reverence for art and authenticity, is the result. -NPR

Make no mistake: the melding and morphing of ideas that editor Chad Wriglesworth brings to the pages of Distant Neighbors will, for most readers, be the main appeal of the book. But these small, more literally grounded concerns, the tiny details of a day spent in Henry County, Kentucky, or in the foothills of the Sierras, are shining threads in the cloth of this long, good friendship. It's news like Berry's one spring -- that he and his wife Tanya have three rows in the garden and 35 lambs -- or Snyder's enthusiastic recommendation of his sister's book on the chicken farms of Petaluma, that keeps the two writers tethered to the warp and woof of their shared sense of place and time. Over and over in these pages the authors rise up to the big, mythical arenas of human existence, then float back down to the simple comforts of the mundane. Such is the feast that feeds them. And as a reader of these letters, it's hard not to feel terribly fortunate to be seated at the table. --Gary Ferguson, author of The Carry Home, in Los Angeles Book Review

In Distant Neighbors, both Berry and Snyder come across as honest and open-hearted explorers. There is an overall sense that they possess a deep and questing wisdom, hard earned through land work, travel, writing, and spiritual exploration. There is no rushing, no hectoring, and no grand gestures between these two, just an ever-deepening inquiry into what makes a good life and how to live it, even in the depths of the machine age. --Orion Magazine