Invoking a ‘Calamity of Peace’: The Private Revolution of Wendell Berry’s "Mad Farmer"
Keywords:Environmentalism, Wendell Berry, agrarian poetry
Building on evolving theories and criticism of post-Vietnam War environmentalism, this essay places Wendell Berry’s agrarian essays and “Mad Farmer Poems” at the cusp of significant ideological change in twenty-first century ecocritical thought. The semi-fictional mad farmer developed in Berry’s poetry collection illustrates how the rural farmer serves as a catalyst for revolutionary environmental change that peacefully marries the private and public uses of wilderness. My analysis of Berry’s poems demonstrates how the poet’s use of symbolism, metaphor, and peaceful protest positions the farmer as the most qualified person to lead us away from mainstream and radical environmentalism and toward a movement indicative of deep-rooted social change.
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