A profound, humble, deeply introspective correspondence between two great American writers spanning 40 years.
In 1969 Pulitzer prize-winning poet Gary Snyder returned from a long residence in Japan to northern California, to a homestead in the Sierra foothills where he intended to build a house and settle on the land with his wife and young sons. A few years before, after a long absence, Wendell Berry left New York City to return to land near his grandfather’s farm in Port Royal, Kentucky, where he built a small studio and lived there with his wife as they restored an old house on their newly acquired homestead. These two founding members of the counterculture and of the new environmental movement had yet to meet, but they knew each other’s work, and soon they began a correspondence. They exchanged more than 240 letters from 1973 to 2013, remarkable letters of insight and argument as they grapple with issues of faith and reason, discuss ideas of home and family, worry over the disintegration of community and commonwealth, and share the details of the lives they’ve chosen. Contemporary American culture is the landscape they reside on. Environmentalism, sustainability, global politics and American involvement, literature, poetry and progressive ideals, these two public intellectuals address issues as broad as are found in any exchange in literature.
“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
“Candid, introspective and often deeply philosophical, these letters offer intimate glimpses into the lives and minds of two influential contemporary writers.” —Kirkus
“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