iStock-656257064.jpg
New.jpg
Unknown.jpeg
image002.jpg
iStock-1063861434.jpg
iStock-656257064.jpg

Winter 2018 - 2019 Brochure


SCROLL DOWN

Winter 2018 - 2019 Brochure


New.jpg

Letter from the House


Letter from the House


In preparing to write this year’s ‘Letter From the House’ I found myself looking over the last fifteen years of previous letters and being somewhat astonished and gratified but, in the end, mortified, that many of the difficult political, ecological and topical subjects I touched on could still be addressed in almost exactly the same words.That we have been living through the same essential dynamic ever since the fall of the twin towers and the mis-reactions and fearful manipulations that followed that disaster. This year’s Letter therefore is a joining together and deepening of some of those serial, annual insights, brought to bear on our present difficulties.

LETTER FROM THE HOUSE
Winter 2018 - 2019

The early descent of the night and the lighted warmth of the kitchen always recall childhood to me. There seemed to my child’s eyes in those early days an aura of expectation to the onset of winter that was beyond excitement about the holidays. The summer was my own, but winter seemed somehow communal, not only between people but between times. The past, medieval or ancient, seemed to run outside our house in the dark, in parallel with our interior family gatherings, and I felt instinctively close to others not only around our particular fireside but with all those, generation after generation, who had struggled through the same cold northern winters before us.

I recall this image because I feel as if humanity itself is sheltering from a particularly cold winter right now, gathered round the dying embers of a fire that seems to give off little heat, and very aware that spring and summer seem far off. It is a time when people naturally begin to wonder if a warm spring day will ever come. It is especially marked when we have little good human leadership to rally our spirits. Then we must look to more timeless, invisible threads that weave together a life worth living and enjoying.

There is a political and social fight necessary in order to improve things, but there is also an inner integrity, an understanding that our basic and very personal human desires are themselves working to undo the braid of life on this planet, coupled, strangely, with an intuition that we have to go deeper into a more foundational level of desire, rather than acting them out at the surface, and that even more strangely, this very personal foundational level will allow us to act more communally on an international level,  to address the ecological imbalances of our time.   

We are, after all, creatures of desire. Even those deeply desired, desire-less states we seek in times of contemplation seem to require enormous amounts of wanting, discipline and energy to achieve. We are built to want and to follow our wants to their end, sometimes to our satisfaction but also, many times, to our destruction. Little wonder then, that our effect on this planet through the accumulated wants of over six billion individual lives are providing a reflection not only of humanity as a whole but on the very nature of human wants and necessities. Innocent individual desires such as a meal or a trans-Atlantic journey need now to be seen in their magnified multiplied effects; this, at a time when many feel besieged by post modern life and want simply to be left alone to get on with it, whatever ‘it’ might be.

Almost all of us have an intuition that we live at a break point in history; that those understandings we may have nurtured about the human condition will not survive the coming years; and that we are on the edge of some kind of proving ground. We intuit a threshold, a line beyond which we will reveal ourselves to ourselves, and there is an unspoken fear that we might not like what we find, but there is also a sense that we may be forced to unearth inner resources previously neglected. We find it hard to look in either direction, perhaps because we are justly afraid of discovering how individually selfish we may be.

But it is not just the sense of helplessness before the real possibility of runaway climate change, the rise of powerful but democratically unaccountable states such as China or Russia, the unbelievable Humpty Dumpty incompetence of a sitting, scientifically ignorant United States president, or the disappearance of old certainties. No, the sense of helplessness is far closer to home and has to do with the way we are vulnerable to being captured and then imprisoned by our own wants and further, by the technologies that manipulate those wants to grant us illusory narrow freedoms, while robbing us of a larger home in the world.

We live in a time when many of the direct human sensibilities that developed over our long evolution have become snares and prisons through the omnipresence of these new technologies and the interests and forces that lie behind them. Firstly, we find that our eyes, which for millennia saved our lives by tracking swift-moving predators, make us vulnerable to every flickering screen; no matter the blandness of the images they contain. Secondly, we see, in the ancient human need to be wanted, how helpless we are before the mobile phone or tablet, and that with our head down in the non-events on the screen, we forgo many of those chance public encounters that have transformed human destiny since the beginning of time. Thirdly, in the very old human wish to be confirmed in our beliefs, we find ourselves only at those on-line forums where those who agree with us naturally gather. Lastly, the need for a larger, mythological context has an enormous percentage of young men sinking their ambitions and hopes into virtual games which feed them endless false triumphs and a sense of almost otherworldly accomplishment that bears no relation to the world they actually inhabit. Without discipline and artfulness, it is hard to break out of the increasingly narrow contexts that these technologies so conveniently provide.

Good poetry is speech fully in the physical body and fully in the body of the society into which it is spoken.

What is astonishing about our contemporary world is how few people are present to what is physically occurring around them. Distracted thumbs on phone keys are a brilliant, iconic image Shakespeare would use today, were he alive, to illustrate the desperate need to be busy and remain undisturbed by a larger horizon of human endeavor for which we might feel inadequate. There is an unconscious sense that if we refuse to be present to the physical world around us, if we disappear into our screens, we will be held harmless from any of the greater physical patterns that might disturb and destroy the protected, often virtual worlds we have taken so much effort to construct around us.

One of the many artful disciplines needed at this time is the art of poetry. Good poetry is speech fully in the physical body and fully in the body of the society into which it is spoken. Poetry is the spoken edge between what I think is me and what I think is not me. Poetry takes us beyond ourselves and into ourselves at exactly the same time. It is the place where the distance between us and others, between us and the world, comes to be healed and made more beautiful by intimacy.  Poetry is the human imagination tempered by the details and necessities of the physical world we inhabit. It cannot exist without that relationship being cemented and made real. The frontier between speech and physical reality is not a fixed possession but a constantly moving conversation between self and other. It makes real our speech, our relationships, our communities and our ability to live with others in the only home we have for the moment: the world we have inherited; one we should not abandon while we live and breathe and can still speak out.

sig.jpg

JUST BEYOND YOURSELF

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.

There is a road
always beckoning.

When you see
the two sides
of it
closing together
at that far horizon
and deep in
the foundations
of your own
heart
at exactly
the same
time,

that’s how
you know
it’s the road
you
have
to follow.

That’s how
you know
it’s where
you
have
to go.

That’s how
you know
you have
to go.

That’s
how you know.

Just beyond
yourself,
it’s
where you
need to be.

-David Whyte
from The Bell and The Blackbird

Unknown.jpeg

New from Many Rivers


New from Many Rivers


NEW FROM MANY RIVERS

Recorded at Asilomar, California in January 2018, this talk is a journey through David’s new book of poetry, The Bell and The Blackbird, including work written as a tribute to beloved friend, poet, author and philosopher John O’Donohue.

It includes The Bell and The Blackbird, Just Beyond Yourself, and Lough Inagh, as well as twenty others, both old favorites and new work. It also features a reading of the popular essay, “Friendship,” from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment & Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

Two disc set. 125 minutes. $15


NEW DIGITAL FORMAT

FlashDrive_brochuregraphic.jpg

USB FLASH DRIVES

These USB flash drives are a great way to give the gift of David’s talks for the digitally-inclined. The cards are the size of a driver’s license. Four talks currently available:

JUST BEYOND YOURSELF
The Courage in Poetry

Runtime: 2:27 $15.

SOLACE
The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question

Runtime: 2:24 $15.

THE POETRY OF SELF COMPASSION &
SWEET DARKNESS: The Invisible Foundations of
a Human Life

(two talks on one flash drive)

Runtime: 2:21 $15.


This special edition of the new poetry book is leather with gold leaf and a ribbon bookmark, quarter-bound, signed and numbered.


THE HOUSE OF BELONGING (excerpt)
from MYRNA KELIHER at EXPEDITION PRESS

6 x 9 inch card, original print, signed

THE BELL AND THE BLACKBIRD

The sound
of a bell
still reverberating,

or a blackbird
calling
from a corner
of the
field.

Asking you
to wake
into this life
or inviting you
deeper
to one that waits.

Either way
takes courage,
either way wants you
to be nothing
but that self that
is no self at all,
wants you to walk
to the place
where you find
you already know
how to give
every last thing
away.

The approach
that is also
the meeting
itself,
without any
meeting
at all.

That radiance
you have always
carried with you
as you walk
both alone
and completely
accompanied
in friendship
by every corner
of the world
crying
Allelujah.

-David Whyte
from
The Bell & The Blackbird


HOMAGE

(for Mary Oliver)

So simple
so clear,
so here.

Like a cat
pawing
the air
or the whip
crack
sound
of a dog
snapping
at a fly.

Always
toward
the end,
the way
we are never
quite
prepared
to find
the beautiful
sense
of hidden
pleasurable
and complete
surprise
in the poem
until
reading
the
very
last line,

but which
is
the one
you
remember
and
that stays
with you
day after day
when you do.

-David Whyte
from The Bell & The Blackbird


It has been an intriguing and marvelous year, working my way into The Bell and the Blackbird, slowly memorizing the poems, reading them around the world and under all kinds of different circumstances and finding out, in effect, what I had written over the last two years. The book itself arrived liked birdsong, or the sudden sound of that bell, when I realized, one bright winter's morning at my desk, how many poems I had written in the last two seasonal rounds without a thought of a book in mind. In two very short weeks, after that gratifying discovery, in a series of intense writing sessions, I had finished off the ones that had lain half done and written half dozen new ones to go with them. It was a miracle and tidal season, a gift and a grace and one I am still both amazed by and made thankful for. 

David Signature_White.png
image002.jpg

2019 Walking Tours


2019 Walking Tours


As my understanding and knowledge deepen over the years, I feel I am actually going to a different place each time I return. My understanding of Ireland; the local mythic and physical geography of The Burrren is radically different, broader and deeper than it was even a few years ago. Tuscany, the Italian language and the relationship to food and place is a door opening inch by inch each time I visit, and though I have known Cumbria and the English Lakes and the poetry of Wordsworth since a child, it is to a different world that I go now, than when I walked and climbed when I was a boy. I look forward to your company on these inner and outer pilgrimages in the coming year.
— David Whyte

POETRY, MYTH & MUSIC FOR THE SOUL
A Week in the West of Ireland

June 15 - 22, 2019

COMPASS POINTS: SETTING DIRECTION FOR A FUTURE LIFE
A Week in the English Lake District

July 12 - 19, 2019

HARVEST & PILGRIMAGE
A Week in the Hills of Tuscany

September 2 - 9, 2019

iStock-1063861434.jpg

Calendar


Calendar