In 1995, Wendell Berry’s Roots to the Earth was published in portfolio form by West Meadow Press. The wood etchings of celebrated artist and wood engraver, Wesley Bates, were printed from the original wood blocks on handmade Japanese paper. In 2014, this work was reprinted at Larkspur Press, along with additional poems. It is now with great pleasure that Counterpoint reproduces this collaborative work for trade publication, as well as expanding it with the inclusion of a short story, “The Branch Way of Doing,” and additional engravings by Bates.
In his introduction to the 2014 collection, Bates wrote: "As our society moves toward urbanization, the majority of the population views agriculture from an increasingly detached position. . . In his poetry [Berry] reveals tenderness and love as well as anger and uncertainty. . . The wood engravings in this collection are intended to be companion pieces to. . . the way he expresses what it is to be a farmer."
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.
Wesley Bates has had a long association with Mr. Berry. He is an acclaimed artist who is primarily known for his brilliant wood engravings, but also works in various other mediums. Bates was born in the Yukon Territory and for many years has had a studio in Ontario where he operates the West Meadow Press.
Gray Zeitz is the founder and operator of Larkspur Press, producing dozens of fine, letterpress, hand–bound editions of works by Kentucky poets and writers for nearly 40 years. Zeitz is the most important designer and printer working in Kentucky and has published at least a dozen beautiful, handmade chapbooks by his friend, Wendell Berry.