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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 along with additional poems. Together with Bates’ original wood engravings, and designed by Gray Zeitz, Larkspur Press printed just one hundred copies of this book in a stunning limited edition.
Now it is with great pleasure that Counterpoint is reproducing this collaborative work for trade publication, as well as expanding it with the inclusion of a short story, The Branch Way of Doing,” with 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 more than fifty books of poetry, fiction and essays. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama (2010) and in 2012 delivered the 41st annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the highest honor the federal government has for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, 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.