MANY RIVERSMANY RIVERSDAVID WHYTEDAVID WHYTEWinterWinter2021 - 20222021 - 2022
Letter from the HouseNew from Many RiversEvents with David WhyteDavid RecommendsWalking Tours
Letter from the HouseDecember 2021The Shyness of LoveTellingly, for everything occurring in my life over the last two years, one of the new poems in ‘Still Possible’ carries the title ‘The Shyness of Love’. The poem looks at that strange dynamic of shyness, or turning away, that accompanies each of us throughout our difficult, unaccountable lives, and not only in the innocent, often awkward beginnings of any relationship or conversation. In the beginning of a relationship, there is always that certain appropriate shyness that we find all too familiar when we first meet someone new to whom we are deeply and fatally attracted. But there is also the more difficult and rarely named shyness we can feel with that same someone when we we have lived with them for years. Taking a relationship deeper by diving below the barrier of that learned shyness might be more difficult, but perhaps more rewarding than overcoming the first shiver of trepidation we felt in first meeting them.As in our more intimate relationships, so for our intimate relationship with our work or our art, whatever form it takes. As the years go by, we are constantly being invited to get beneath the insulation and distance we erect to save us from the consequences and vulnerabilities uncovered by the very path our work or our love has taken. In even the steadiest marriage or the most practiced vocation we are constantly approaching thresholds that put us on the unsettling edge between the familiar and the unfamiliar, no matter how long we have been committed in a relationship, practiced an instrument, wielded a pen or laboured in the fields of what we consider ‘good work.’It is only in this last year or so that I have been coming fully to terms with how shy I am and have been, of the deeper consequences and invitations to others inherent in my art form. Since the beginning of my work, I have had a constant stream of letters and communications from those who were not only helped to a joyful, more satisfying and courageous life, but those who found in the work a companion through grief and loss, ill health, heartbreak, depression and harrow-ing loneliness.
I have always read and registered everything sent to me, but I have always also immediately put it aside and returned to my work, never quite letting it hit fully home, and never quite able to face the intimate way I had become a friend to so many others at a distance that was no distance at all. Part of it, when younger, was the act of preserving myself from the very often real pressures to become some species of guru, part of it the instinctive knowledge that poetry was what kept me honest and I could best keep helping by continuing to go deeper and deeper in the artform and speaking from that hard-won place. But over the last two years of being at home, some natural inner settling has taken place, and I feel more at ease, more vulnerable to, more responsible to - and more interested in - the individual lives I have been touching all along. It is as if all the abstractions of distant readership have coalesced into an intimate single sense of a shared human-ity. The place, indeed, I have been writing from all along.There are probably few outer signs of the inner revolution I have undergone in these last two years, but it does seem on the inside to manifest itself in a very real, very physical sense of compassion for and deep interest in others and their lives. All the firmly held lines behind which I have always written are blurring and being given up, as if some inner soil is being turned over for a new planting, a new season, and a new bounty. I see that spring planting, that new possibility in every new and surprising line in ‘Still Possible’, a book that came out of nowhere, in the midst of very unpromising circumstances. I wrote almost shyly to begin with, and then as the months went by, with increas-ing surety. Like the beginning of a new and promising friendship, like a falling to my knees in the act of both giving up and deciding to go on, all at the same time, as if it was written both with me and for me, by some stranger I am still, thank-fully, getting to know.Letter from the House - continued
Letter from the House - continuedThe 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 CONSOLATIONSBodi Hallett, Sattva Photo
New from MANY RIVERSNEW POETRY BOOK, STILL POSSIBLEThe poems in Still Possible pay homage to the invisible passage of time – the deep, private current that wends through our lives as a steadfast companion, sculpting our interior worlds as inexorably and exquisitely as its visible manifestations.Whyte turns his eye, and his pen, to the possibilities and harvests this shaping reveals: the shyness and vulnerability of love, the illusion of imperfection, and the new invitations that beckon along the way.The poems reflect an abiding faith in time’s wisdom: a journey turned away from in youth waits patiently for later maturity; an early experience ripens in secret to reveal, decades later, a full understanding. Under Whyte’s poet-philosopher gaze, a rain-soaked day in an Irish farm-house becomes a meditation on the essence of a truly good day: a settled contentment, alert and open to whatever may call. Plus sheep, Seamus Heaney and a dog.Powerful language rests on a foundation of what isn’t said, a silence underpinning the elo-quence of articulation. In this way, Still Possible hovers above the numinous and the unknow-able – what we pray for, what we pass on, what mystery awaits and, in the end, what it might mean to be happy.PURCHASE
New from MANY RIVERSThere is something extraordinary about a collaboration between virtuoso talents whoare also close friends; the result can transcend the sum of its individually-remarkableparts to create a harmony neither could have imagined alone. Such is the case with thiscollection, years in the making. Owen’s evocative music is a perfect creative complementto David’s words, and the guest contributors - Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Nóirín Ní Riainand other luminaries - add layers of richness and subtle complexity to the conversationbetween these two artists. Available as a download on davidwhyte.com.NEW AUDIO with DAVID WHYTE& OWEN Ó SÚILLEABHÁINPURCHASENew Poem CardsDesigned by artist Myrna Keliher at Expedition Press in Kingston, Washington, these elegantcards are beautifully presented in boxed sets of three, with envelopes. 6.5 x 4.5 inches.FAITHFaithTilicho LakeSelf PortraitSWEET DARKNESSThe Opening of EyesSweet DarknessThe Well of GriefPURCHASE PURCHASE
ALL DAVID’S audio NOW AVAILABLE ASDOWNLOADS at DAVIDWHYTE.COMPURCHASEFRIENDSHIP CARDSIn the spirit of the season, we turned our attention towards the life-giving qualities of friendship - the merciful, sustaining relationships we sometimes take for granted, always to our detriment. Our virtual event on December 12th will be dedicated to this theme, and we created these cards, featur-ing an excerpt from David’s highly-acclaimed essay on the subject, as a celebration and reminder to cherish the people that bring light and meaning to even the darkest moments of our lives.6 x 8.5” Letterpress art print with gold foil. PURCHASE
events with DAVID WHYTEA WINTER’S MORNING IN SEATTLEPoetry’s Brave Invitation to Drink from a Different WellREGISTERLIVE, VIRTUAL EVENTDECEMBER 12th - 10am PTFRIENDSHIP:The Hidden Key to Happiness at Every LevelSEATTLE - in personDECEMBER 11th - 10amREGISTERasilomar, california - in personjanuary 7th - 9th, 2022REGISTERSTILL POSSIBLESetting Direction for a Future LifeTHREE SUNDAYS SERIESjanuary 2nd, 16th and 30th10am PTSTART CLOSE IN:Shaping Our Lives to an Inner Simplicity;and an Outer Creative Life - Equal to the Challenges of Our TimesREGISTER
DAVID RECOMMENDSWe are so pleased to feature this mov-ing album from our good friend and accomplished musician, Ian King, who lends his compelling voice to many of David’s tours. Inspired by poetry, he wrote and performed an arrangement of one of Emily Dickinson’s poems, and David suggested he compose an album of tunes to her work. We are so happy he did - his resonant voice, fine tunes and evocative guitar arrangements convey a deep reverence for life, and a doorway to engagement with her time-less words.It’s all I have to bring today -This, and my heart beside - This, and my heart, and all the elds -And all the meadows wide -Be sure you count - should I forgetSomeone the sum could tell - This, and my heart, and all the BeesWhich in the Clover dwell. - Emily DickinsonPURCHASEPATRICK DEXTER, CELLOCalming, plangent, like falling rain or like the south wind itself, Patrick Dexter’s cello is a direct invitational voice, asking us to leave the stressed periphery and drop down, to some inner water’s edge of listening, and to drink thankfully from that deeper well.PURCHASEIn this age of digital media, the CD, with its accom-panying booklet, is a welcome, hold-in-your-hands beauty. With drawings by internationally-acclaimed artist David Suff, the panels set the words of each poem against a gallery of natural beauty.
2022 WALKING TOURSWEST OF IRELANDAPRIL 30th - May 7th, 2022Poetry, Myth & Music for the SoulJoin David and 35 eclectic travelers for a celebration of Ireland’s celtic culture, both tradition-al and emerging, set on Galway Bay in County Clare. The trip is an unforgettable pilgrimage over ancient limestone and windblown shores, gathering at places of special inherited signifi-cance in both Irish history and the Irish religious imagination.ALL WALKING TOURSWALKING TOUR OPTIMISM. It is only with the forced cancellation of my poetry and walking tours over the last two years, that I have been able to understand how integral a part of my life they have been. The combination of intellectual, and imaginative stimulation in the mornings, the solace and mercy of the poetry itself, the companionship with others it en-genders on the long walks in the afternoons, the physical sense of emboldenment and beauty that comes through those self same walks, and the appetite it gives for good food, good drink and good conversation makes for a powerful constellation of forces that bolster and lift a hu-man life, often forging in parallel, friendships for a life time.You will therefore find below, a very optimistic list of my tours which, pandemics and the vagaries of human behavior permitting, I will be running with renewed enthusiasm and re-newed arrangements and with old friends and allies in the coming year. I have had a few for-ays out abroad since the lockdown, and thank the stars, it is still there, still just as fascinating, and still hoping to welcome us all back. I live very much in hope.
ENGLISH LAKE DISTRICTJUNE 24th - JULY 1st, 2022Compass Points: Setting Direction for a Future LifeJoin David Whyte in the mountains and vales of his youth, while taking time to understand the next necessary steps of your own life. Hike with David over the peaks of the English Lake District, where Wordsworth, Coleridge and many others found inspiration among mountains, valleys, spectacular lakes, stone villages and hedgerows. Our accommodations are near Conis-ton Lake, not too far from the village of Coniston itself - the site, by the way, of David’s very favorite brewery.THE HILLS OF TUSCANYMAY 14th - 21st, 2022Harvest & PilgrimageFrom the first evening standing on the threshold of an ancient Etruscan tomb with the light slanting across the stone, imagining centuries of mothers, fathers and children making their lives amongst the olive groves, to the closing night’s celebration under the stars, the week in Italy is a moveable feast both literally and imaginatively; a true celebration of the senses; a shaping of the mind and the body through walking, seeing, listening and tasting.
JAPANNOVEMBER 2022, DATES TBDWalking the Nakasendo TrailJoin David Whyte and Gayle Karen Young Whyte on this mountain and forest trail through the ancient landscapes and villages of central Japan, walking in the footsteps of Japan’s most fa-mous poet: Basho. Our tour begins in Kyoto, we will then travel by train into the mountains. Once on the trail we will stay at traditional Ryokan Inns, many times bathing in their hot-springs by night and during the days, walking through the central Japanese countryside, past temples and shrines, remote forest paths and tiny hamlets.There are places that seemto expect us:to take us in like pilgrimsfrom the way aheadto tell us suddenlyand without fanfareof a new beginningmade out of nothingbut the way we got hereDavid Whytefrom “Etruscan Tomb” in PILGRIM