THOUGHTFUL AND INSPIRING WRITING

The Poetic Imagination of David Whyte

Human beings are creatures of belonging, though they may come to that sense of belonging only through long periods of exile and loneliness. We belong to life as much through our sense that it is all impossible as we do through the sense that we will accomplish everything we have set out to do.

David Whyte is a poet first and foremost. This is as evident in his thoughtful and inspiring essays and prose as it is in his poetry - even when writing of the corporate world, long considered the provenance of soulless bullet points, his language awakens the poetic imagination, taking readers below the surface to view the world through a broader, often surprising lens. His writing traverses genres and demographics, always illuminating the fierce, radical beauty of human experience.

THE POETRY OF DAVID WHYTE

A library of inspiring poems

THE POWER OF POETRY

The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. 

Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense, all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.

- David Whyte

SANTIAGO

The road seen, then not seen, the hillside hiding
then revealing the way you should take, the road
dropping away from you as if leaving you to walk
on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall, and the way
forward always in the end the way that you followed,
the way that carried you into your future, that brought
you to this place, no matter that it sometimes took
your promise from you, no matter that it had to break
your heart along the way
...

excerpt from PILGRIM and DAVID WHYTE: ESSENTIALS

David Whyte makes the reading of poetry a matter of life and death. His poetry has moved me and changed me.
- pat conroy


When your eyes are tired,
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

- from SWEET DARKNESS
in The House of Belonging, River Flow and
DAVID WHYTE: ESSENTIALS

Just beyond
yourself.

It's where
you need
to be.

Half a step
into
self-forgetting
and the rest
restored
by what
you'll meet.

- from THE BELL & THE BLACKBIRD
and DAVID WHYTE: ESSENTIALS

ESSAYS AND PROSE

human beings are creatures of belonging, though they may come to that sense of belonging through long periods of exile and loneliness. 

We think we know what we are talking about, the meaning of things, the basic rules of language, until we read David Whyte’s Consolations where we are forced to reassess everything and begin again. Such an essential and beautiful book.
- Nick Cave

I often think that prose is the art of explaining, while poetry is the very essence of the thing itself; but prose can come within a hairsbreadth of poetry in a good novel or in a scientific or psychological story, beautifully told. My prose books in some way have all been explanations of what I feel my poetry holds without any explanation, but in the storytelling that prose allows: in the narratives of my mother’s life, in the lives I follow in ‘The Three Marriages,’ or out of the fruitful traumas I experienced in the Himalayas or the Galapagos. Through storytelling, perspectives can be won and most of all enjoyed, far beyond the satisfactions of mere explanation.

But regarding prose, my most rewarding experiences came in writing the essays that made up Consolations, a book written almost completely whilst traveling around the planet, in hotel lobbies, trains, boats and planes and even on steep mountain sides: a series of lightning raids written in a kind of psychological collaboration with my then assistant, Julie Quiring; who helped shepherd, not only my writing endeavours but midwifing the essays out to my readers to meet our self-appointed deadlines. In writing Consolations in all of those memorable locations, I experienced the same physical sense of arrival and disappearance that has always accompanied the the writing of poetry.

- David Whyte

The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
 
- from "Friendship" in CONSOLATIONS

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