In Consolations David Whyte unpacks aspects of being human that many of us spend our lives trying vainly to avoid – loss, heartbreak, vulnerability, fear – boldly reinterpreting them, fully embracing their complexity, never shying away from paradox in his relentless search for meaning.
Beginning with ‘Alone’ and closing with ‘Withdrawal’, each piece in this life-affirming book is a meditation on meaning and context, an invitation to shift and broaden our perspectives on life: pain and joy, honesty and anger, confession and vulnerability, the experience of feeling overwhelmed and the desire to run away from it all. Through this lens, procrastination may be a necessary ripening; hiding an act of freedom; and shyness something that accompanies the first stage of revelation.
Consolations invites readers into a poetic and thoughtful consideration of words whose meaning and interpretation influence the paths we choose and the way we traverse them throughout our lives.
**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**
This book is a bit of a different one compared to most I review. It’s not poetry, nor is it a novel, it’s a book of prose, a book with words, about words. These pages are filled with many words that we use every day and gives us pause now upon them.
It’s great, it’s the perfect meditative read. You can seek these words at your own pace and leisure, to explore one word a day or more, and to quietly meditate and seek solace in them as you do.
At the end of the long day, I looked forward to prising open these pages to seek out words to help me reflect and I can only say that if you’re the sort that likes to do that as well that you’ll truly enjoy reading this.
The words chosen were all great examples of useful if not everyday common words that we can sometimes not necessarily take for granted, but forget that they are important to us.
I tabbed this book, each word that spoke to me the most I put a yellow tab [provided by Canongate, thank you!] so that I could come back and reflect on it.
This book will now have a place on my nightstand so that I can look back on it as needed to help ease my soul every now and again.
is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without. Vulnerability is not a choice…To run from vulnerability is to run form the essence of our nature — to close off our understanding of the grief of others.”
[Pg.171, this quote was taken from an ARC copy and may not be correct in the final copy]
Thank you to Canongate for sending me an ARC of this in exchange for my honest review. Four large cups of hot chocolate for this wonderful book of prose.
About the Author
Poet David Whyte grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
The author of seven books of poetry and three books of prose, David Whyte holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes, Amazon and Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops.
His life as a poet has created a readership and listenership in three normally mutually exclusive areas: the literate world of readings that most poets inhabit, the psychological and theological worlds of philosophical enquiry and the world of vocation, work and organizational leadership.
An Associate Fellow at Said Business School at the University of Oxford, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many European, American and international companies. In spring of 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Neumann College, Pennsylvania.
In organizational settings, using poetry and thoughtful commentary, he illustrates how we can foster qualities of courage and engagement; qualities needed if we are to respond to today’s call for increased creativity and adaptability in the workplace. He brings a unique and important contribution to our understanding of the nature of individual and organizational change, particularly through his unique perspectives on Conversational Leadership.