In Imagination in Place, we travel to the local cultures of several writers important to Berry's life and work, from Wallace Stegner's great West and Ernest Gaines's Louisiana plantation life to Donald Hall's New England, and on to the Western frontier as seen through the Far East lens of Gary Snyder. The collection also includes portraits of a few of America's most imaginative writers, including James Still, Hayden Carruth, Jane Kenyon, John Haines, and several others. Berry laments today's dispossessed and displaced, those writers and people with no home and no citizenship, but he argues that there is hope for the establishment of new local cultures in both the practical and literary sense. For Berry, what is -local, fully imagined, becomes universal, - and these essays serve as a reminder that a place indelibly marks its literature just as it determines its watershed community of plants and animals.
Praise for Imagination in Place
Berry’s latest collection of essays is the reminiscence of a literary life. It is a book that acknowledges a lifetime of intellectual influences, and in doing so, positions Berry more squarely as a cornerstone of American literature . . . a necessary book. Here, Berry’s place as the grandfather of slow food’ or the prophet of rural living’ is not questioned. This book ensures we understand the depth and breadth of Berry’s art.” San Francisco Chronicle
[A] stellar collection . . . Berry turns over well-tilled, ever-fertile ground in Imagination in Place. His ideas flow beyond the channels of agrarian enthusiasm. Foodies, architects, transportation engineers, and other writers are adopting and adapting his concepts, perhaps leading to what he envisions will one day be an authentic settlement of our country.’” The Oregonian
For those who’ve already come to admire Berry’s moral clarity and closely argued critiques of contemporary society, Imagination in Place is a welcome chance to continue the conversation.” The Christian Science Monitor