David Whyte (born 2 November 1955) is an English poet. He is quoted as saying that all of his poetry and philosophy is based on "the conversational nature of reality".
Life and Work
Whyte's mother was from Waterford, Ireland, and his father was a Yorkshireman. He attributes his poetic interest to both the songs and poetry of his mother's Irish heritage and to the landscape of West Yorkshire. He grew up in West Yorkshire and has commented that he had "a Wordsworthian childhood", in the fields, woods and on the moors. Whyte has a degree in Marine zoology from Bangor University.
During his twenties Whyte worked as a naturalist and lived in the Galapagos Islands, where he experienced a near drowning on the southern shore of Hood Island. He led anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes the Amazon and the Himalayas.
Whyte moved to the US in 1981 and began a career as a poet and speaker in 1986. From 1987 he began taking his poetry and philosophy to larger audiences including consulting and lecturing on organisational leadership models in the US and UK exploring the role of creativity in business. He has worked with companies such as Boeing, AT&T, NASA, Toyota, The Royal Air Force and the Arthur Andersen accountancy group.
Work and vocation and "Conversational Leadership" is the subject of several of Whyte's prose books, including Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as Pilgrimage of Identity, The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship and The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of The Soul in Corporate America (top of business best seller list).
Whyte has written seven volumes of poetry and four books of prose. Pilgrim is based on the human need to travel, "From here to there". The House of Belonging looks at the same human need for home. He describes his collection Everything Is Waiting For You (2003) as arising from the grief at the loss of his mother. His latest book is Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, an attempt to "rehabilitate" many everyday words we often use only in pejorative or unimaginative ways. He has also written for newspapers including The Huffington Post and The Observer. He leads group poetry and walking journeys regularly in Ireland, England and Italy. He has an honorary degree from Neumann College, Pennsylvania, and is Associate Fellow of both Templeton College, Oxford, and the Saïd Business School, Oxford.
Whyte runs the Many Rivers organisation and Invitas: The Institute for conversational leadership, which he founded in 2014. He has lived in Seattle and on Whidbey Island and currently lives in Langley, in the US Pacific North West and holds dual US-British citizenship. He has one daughter, Charlotte, from his second marriage to Dr. Leslie Cotter, from whom he divorced in November 2014, and a son, Brendan from his first marriage to Autumn Preble. Whyte has practised Zen and was a regular rock climber. He was a close friend of the Irish poet John O'Donohue.
River Flow: New & Selected Poems Revised Edition (Many Rivers Press 2012)
River Flow: New & Selected Poems 1984–2007 (Many Rivers Press 2007)
Everything is Waiting for You (Many Rivers Press 2003)
The House of Belonging (Many Rivers Press 1996)
Fire in the Earth (Many Rivers Press 1992)
Where Many Rivers Meet (Many Rivers Press 1990)
Songs for Coming Home (Many Rivers Press 1984)
The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship (Riverhead 2009)
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as A Pilgrimage of Identity (Riverhead 2001)
The Heart Aroused: Poetry & the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America (Doubleday/Currency 1994)
Consolations: The Solace Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words" (Many Rivers Press 2015)