“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet / confinement of your aloneness / to learn / anything or anyone / that does not bring you alive / is too small for you.” David Whyte is a poet and philosopher who believes in the power of a “beautiful question” amid the drama of work as well as the drama of life and the ways the two overlap. He shared a deep friendship with the late Irish philosopher John O’Donohue. They were, David Whyte says, like “two bookends.” More recently, he’s written about the consolation, nourishment, and underlying meaning of everyday words.
David Whyte is an associate fellow at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. His books include The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment, and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words and The Bell and The Blackbird. His latest collection is David Whyte: Essentials.
This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "David Whyte — The Conversational Nature of Reality." Find more at onbeing.org. This show originally aired in April 2016.