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The House of Belonging

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  566 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
This is David Whyte's fourth book of poetry.
Paperback, 98 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Many Rivers Pr
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May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I felt a connection with this book of poetry from the opening poem - which wasn't even by David Whyte but a poet named David Wagoner. Wagoner's poem is called "Lost," and it sets the tone for a very introspective collection of poems that read like a meditation.

The House of Belonging is set up in four parts: Belonging to the House, the Night, Places and Those I know. Throughout the collection, Whyte expresses the importance of finding and knowing one's true self and living the true expression of
Molly Kraybill
So may we, in this life
to those elements we have yet to see
or imagine,
and look for the true
shape of our own self,
by forming it well
to the great
intangibles about us.
What I am
Is what I have been grown by,
The sun,
That great love,
All the many small loves,
And you that one love too
Who waited so long
To find me and
Who has always
Walked by my side
Folding my remembering
Hand in hers.
One small thing
I've learned these years,
How to be alone,
And at the edge of aloneness
How to be found by t
Katherine Sartori
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough about this precious book of poems and David Whyte's incredible depth of vision. This book is at my bedside and I review one or two poems for meditation often. I've also recommended this book to those who attend my local poetry group, as well as friends, especially those who are passing through the inevitable dark shadows we find on our life's path...

I highly recommend this book for anyone who appreciates the wonder and mystery of nature, life... and even death. Whyte's words w
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Deeply touched.

The Winter of listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside

Even with summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say

All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard
So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Lovely, evocative poetry that touches on home, community, family, love, nature, grief, joy, and belonging. I first read David Whyte's poetry on the On Being poetry project website:
I can't wait to read more of his poetry.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My husband and I are engineers who pretty much never read poetry so I feel pretty unqualified to write this review. I'm also not "done" with it, but I don't really know when/if I will be. Anyways, we have been reading these poems out loud to each other with some regularity and discussing them, which from what I understand is how poetry is supposed to go. Anyways. I LOVE THESE POEMS. I just feel like Whyte gets the human experience. The themes of home and belonging and aloneness resonate with me ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
To start, I want to note that this book was already reviewed this year by Annie:

But I found I had somewhat different things to say about it so rather than commenting on her review, I decided to write my own in full.

David Whyte actually made/makes money taking poetry (Dante particularly) into corporations to help move leadership teams out of ruts. Crazy huh? Yes. But he did it and did it successfully. His focus was on the ability of some poetry to move peop
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Favorites: "House of Belonging," "Sweet Darkness," "Four Horses," "Tienamen," and "Working Together"

Overall, I felt many of the best poetry was hidden in larger poems that were trying too hard to make a point or trying to be deep (without really going there, a case of staring two minutes instead of four, perhaps). For instance, some of the best lines were in a poem about Kavenagh, but that poem was several pages long, instead of just the best of it.

A risk of this sort of poetry, too, which depe
Gail Hernandez
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Superb poetry. I'm not big into poetry, but David Whyte is incredible. I can totally relate to his poems and use them as part of my daily spiritual practice.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Sometimes reading
Kavanagh I look out
at everything
growing so wild
and faithfully beneath
the sky
and wonder
why we are the one
part of creation
to refuse our flowering.

Recommended to me by Goodreads due to my interest in Mary Oliver, I find this to be a decent collection. There are some truly excellent pieces here that hold a universal and spiritual appeal, though there also a great many that seem to wander into a dispassionate droning of description that left me with a distance from
Armand Cognetta
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What to Remember When Waking

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to oth
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
4.5 Stars

How do I explain how I feel about David Whyte without falling into dramatic cliche?

His work is warm. Introspective. Safe, but vulnerable. He looks deep within and so you also look deep within.

I feel better and more patient and loving when I am done with one of his poems.

Sweet Darkness will always be his poem that carries me, but there were many new ones I discovered in this installation that grew my heart a few sizes.

I weep with satisfied calm.
K Flewelling
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this short book of poetry over the weekend, and definitely fell in love with Whyte's voice and perspective of the world through verse. I was so struck by his turns of phrases, and it made me want to notice things deeper the way that poets do -- the particular way things sound or feel or seem. He is a new favorite, for sure.
Esta Doutrich
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This poetry collection has one of my favorite poems in it, “Loaves and Fishes”. I love David Whyte’s poems for their accessibility and constant wistfulness.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Moments of simple beauty– but episodes as well that felt as if I'd been dropped into a self-help manual.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Delighted to have discovered this poet. Obviously late to the party, but glad to be here!
K McBride
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed several individual stanzas, but not any whole poem ...
Jona & Joslyn
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
At first I enjoyed the poems but when they all started to sound the same, I lost interest. My favorite poems were those at the end (about people) but I didn't enjoy them more than "meh."
Nimitha TR
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2017
Except for a few poems, this failed to invoke awe in me.

"It happens to those
who live alone
that they feel sure
of visitors
when no one else
is there.

until the one day
and the one
working in the
quiet garden,

when they realize
at once
that all along
they have been
an invitation
to everything
and every kind
of trouble

and that life
happens by
to those who
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
At just under 100 pages, House of Belonging is centered on the theme of finding one’s home. That ‘home’ takes many forms throughout the book, including places like Whyte’s former home in England, people like close friends and family, and even states of being like solitude.

Whyte’s poetry quietly awakens something at the reader’s core. His words are universal, describing the sense of belonging we all strive for and find in our passions, but they also call to mind a spiritual sense of a greater
Dan Gobble
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books, poetry
Another great book of poems from David Whyte! He speaks about the utter essence of life and being and his words are still reverberating through my soul. A favorite from this collection:

"What to Remember When Waking"

In that first
hardly noticed
in which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
and frighteningly
where everything
there is a small
into the day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.

Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
There are some gems in this collections that I've returned to many times (for example, the title poem, "What I Must Tell Myself", and "Dougie"), but overall I found it uneven and not to my taste. One of the primary reasons I read poetry is to see the familiar from new angles, but for every thoughtful idea or turn-of-phrase, there came a sprinkling of clichés, tired imagery, and eye-roll-inducing-sickly-sweet sentiments.

David Whyte has a parallel career as a motivational speaker, and it seems li
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
As usual, a disclaimer: While I enjoy poetry, I cannot say I seek out poetry books to read, and often when I hear poetry, like for presidential inauguarations, I have no idea what they mean.

But I read this book the day before I left for Israel. The themes of finding a place where you feel you belong and actively seeking your life's goals and dream resonate. But more than that, they seem to fulfill what I think of as "the power of poetry" -- the choice of a rhythm and very particular words make t
Jun 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. I couldn't even read it completely, and wound up skimming the last few poems. It seemed too self-consciously poetic and unsurprising to me. I can relate to the subject matter, but something seems cheesy in its contentment and wonder. Also, the line breaks seem arbitrary in a bad way, forced, too short, distracting. Without fail, I would break almost every line differently. And it's not like some poetry where breaks don't matter-- there seems to be ...more
Casey Fraites
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The House of Belonging is to me an appreciation of life. Theses poems by David Whyte are a collection a of observations on life and the world we live.My favorite poem is the same as the title of this book "The House of Belonging" David Whyte explores the innocence of life and how the subtle things can changes our live in one direction or another. He goes on to say that love is a lesson in which we are always learning in life, and sometimes it takes use longer than others to fully appreciate that ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Sometimes, when I borrow a book from the library returning it feels like I am severing a limb. Such is the case with this slim volume of poetry. Yes, it is still in print. Yes, I can afford to buy it. BUT this book, this particular edition - about which there is nothing special - has become part of my heart. These poems speak to me; they speak about me; they are my biography. And you want me to GIVE THEM BACK!? I'm a librarian, for heaven's sake, of course I have to give them back. I know that. ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although not as great as Fire in the Earth, this book, this poetry of his, has a way of crawling unnoticed into my very soul and expand my heart until I want to go out there and love the world as I was always meant to, as if it was my only purpose in life and nothing else mattered but to love and be alive and breathe everything in.

There is such a gentle, subtle power in his words, a power that can shatter every veil covering your being, a power that can silence the deafening noise of this modern
Judy Goodnight
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I have my friend Sharman to thank for introducing me to David Whyte. At our last book club we shared favorite books/authors and she talked about Whyte. She even brought a CD for us to listen to the author reading several of his poems. In the end, I borrowed this book from her and rediscovered the joys of poetry.

The House of Belonging explores the themes of aloneness and connectedness - connections with self, with place, with nature and with others. Whyte's language is both simple and powerful an
Rebecca N. McKinnon
What an elegant, awe-inspiring book of poetry. Whyte explores the philosophical concepts of home, aloneness, nature, and connectedness. I recommend this book to the lonely as well as the joyfully alone. It teaches the meaning and necessity of solitude. It showed me how solitude can best lead to joyful relationships and overall connections with the natural world. Whyte is using his poetry here as a vessel to understand himself and his surroundings. In turn, his poetry has inspired me (and I'm sur ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whyte grew up in Yorkshire but now lives on Whidbey Island in the state of Washington. Was not surprised to read that he is a Zen practitioner and a serious hiker.
This collection is perfectly titled for it is about home. Not just home in a personal sense, but the connection to a greater home in the wide-world. He speaks of the "open moor of the American mind" . He believes that "everything confirms our courage."
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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 th
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“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.”
“So may we, in this life

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,
and look for the true

shape of our own self,
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.”
More quotes…