Aaron Belz

Wendell Berry’s God

by Micah Mattix on April 30, 2012

In the latest issue of The City, Aaron Belz reviews The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. It’s a mostly favorable review, but Belz expresses disappointment that there isn’t more critical engagement with Berry in the volume. Belz only hints at what such a critical engagement might be, noting Berry’s debt to an earlier naturalism. I am not a Berry scholar, but some of Berry’s Sabbath poems have always raised a few questions in my mind about the relationship between God and nature in Berry’s work–poems with lines like these:

Another Sunday morning comes
And I resume the standing Sabbath
Of the woods, where the finest blooms
Of time return, and where not path
Is worn but wears its makers out
At last, and disappears in leaves
Of fallen seasons. The tracked rut
Fills and levels; here nothing grieves
In the risen season. Past life
Lives in the living. Resurrection
Is in the way each maple leaf
Commemorates its kind, by connection

Berry writes within a generally Christian tradition, and he is all the rage these days with all sorts of Christians, hipsters and non-hipsters alike, but I for one would like to learn more about what he means by “Past life / Lives in the living,” or in another poem when he writes that “Sometimes here [earth] / we are there [heaven], and there is no death.”

That “sometimes” is very coy. At the moment, it seems this is the best bet for further study.

The Latest Edition of The City

by Benjamin Domenech on April 29, 2012

The Spring 2012 edition of The City is here! It includes several pieces applying the lessons of great figures of history to the challenges – philosophical, political, and international – of the day.

Louis Markos writes on Saint Augustine, Paul D. Miller on Alexis de Tocqueville, and Paul Bonicelli on Andrew Jackson. We also have an extensive interview with author Mary Eberstadt on the Sexual Revolution and its ramifications, a sure to be conversation-starting piece from Hillsdale Professor Paul Rahe on conscience and Catholicism, and a reminiscence from Tim Goeglein on his friendship with Russell Kirk. Our reviews section includes a must-read survey from Ryan T. Anderson on the debate over the morality of democratic capitalism, Aaron Belz on Wendell Berry, Burwell Stark on Teddy Roosevelt and football, and Micah Mattix on The Confederacy of Dunces. As always, Hunter Baker’s Republic of Letters features insight and reactions to the debates of the times, and John Poch provides our poetry this issue.

We hope you will read and enjoy!