whyte

David Whyte

Acclaimed Poet & Naturalist

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • SOLACE: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question


Poet David Whyte grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home, with his family, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The author of six books of poetry and three books of prose,David Whyte holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes, the Amazon, and the Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures, and workshops. His poetry collections include Pilgrim (2012) and River Flow: New and Selected Poems (2007). A new book of essays, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, was published by Many Rivers Press in 2014.

Whyte’s life as a poet has created a readership and listenership in three normally mutually exclusive areas: the literate world of readings that most poets inhabit; the psychological and theological worlds of philosophical enquiry; and the world of vocation, work and organizational leadership.

An Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many European, American, and international companies. In spring of 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Neumann College, Pennsylvania.

In organizational settings, using poetry and thoughtful commentary, he illustrates how we can foster qualities of courage and engagement, qualities needed if we are to respond to today’s call for increased creativity and adaptability in the workplace. He brings a unique and important contribution to our understanding of the nature of individual and organizational change particularly through his perspectives on Conversational Leadership.


David Whyte is the author of seven books of poetry, including Pilgrim, River Flow: New & Selected Poems, and Everything is Waiting for You, as well as three books of prose, most recently The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship. Whyte holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, which brings wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures, and workshops. An Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many European, American, and international companies.


CONSOLATIONS: THE SOLACE, NOURISHMENT, AND UNDERLYING MEANING OF EVERYDAY WORDS (Essays, 2014)
With the imagery of a poet and the reflection of a philosopher, David Whyte turns his attention to 52 ordinary words, each its own particular doorway into the underlying currents of human life. Beginning with Alone and closing with Work, each chapter is a meditation on meaning and context, an invitation to shift and broaden our perspectives on the inevitable vicissitudes of life: pain and joy, honesty and anger, confession and vulnerability, the experience of feeling besieged and the desire to run away from it all. Through this lens, procrastinationmay be a necessary ripening; hiding an act of freedom; and shyness the appropriate confusion and helplessness that accompanies the first stage of revelation.Consolations invites readers into a poetic and thoughtful consideration of words whose meaning and interpretation influence the paths we choose and the way we traverse them throughout our lives.

PILGRIM (Poetry, 2012)
In his 7th volume of poetry, David Whyte looks at the great questions of human life through the eyes of the pilgrim: someone passing through relatively quickly, someone dependent on friendship, hospitality and help from friends and strangers alike, someone for whom the nature of the destination changes step by as it approaches, and someone who is subject to the vagaries of wind and weather along the way. The poems in Pilgrim explore themes of departure, shelter, companionship, deep friendship and the necessary transformations of friendship, the struggles at crucial thresholds and the arrivals that always become further departures, offering companionship along the way.

RIVER FLOW (Poetry, 2007)
David Whyte’s body of work reflects the depth and breadth of a maturing artist, taking its readers on a passage through time and place, allowing us to bear witness to the constellation of difficulties, triumphs, adventures, losses, hopes, and revelations that have shaped one particular human life. River Flow contains over one hundred poems selected from five previously published works, together with twenty-three new poems, including a tribute to an Ethiopian woman navigating her first escalator, a meditation of love and benediction for his young daughter, and a cycle of Irish poems that convey his deep love of the land and life-long appreciation for its wisdom. Within its covers are poems to be read and reread, poems that are sure to become companions on our own passage through the turbulent waters of a well-lived, well-loved life.

WINTER APPLE
(excerpt)

Let the apple ripen
on the branch
beyond your need
to take it down.

Let the coolness
of autumn
and the breathing,
blowing wind
test its adherence
to endurance,
let the others fall.

Wait longer
than you would,
go against yourself,
find the pale nobility
of quiet that ripening
demands

- from Pilgrim

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