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River Flow: New & Selected Poems 1984-2007

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  392 ratings  ·  32 reviews
David Whyte's body of work reflects the depth and breadth of a maturing artist, taking its readers on a passage through time and place, allowing us to bear witness to the constellation of difficulties, triumphs, adventures, losses, hopes and revelations that have shaped one particular human life. RIVER FLOW contains over one hundred poems selected from five previously ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published March 15th 2007 by Many Rivers Pr (first published January 1st 2007)
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Julie Christine
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
David Whyte spoke at Town Hall, Seattle on December 2, 2011. I had never heard of him, but a dear friend insisted that my husband and I attend with her and her daughters. She so believed in David's poetry and his message that she bought our tickets and made certain our calendars were free so we had no excuses.

I will be forever grateful to this loving friend. I sat transfixed for the two hours David spoke, recited his poems and a handful of others that have inspired him through the years. He
Ward Bell
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Poetry is so personal and my taste for it evolves. As I write, Whyte continues, after years, to hold me spellbound.

Whyte poems are jewels of story telling operating at multiple levels of meaning. I have little capacity for tone poems; I need them to speak straight. Not a problem of antique language (I love Shakes, Dunne, Milton); I just need to read it without knowing the secret, hidden references and the poet's biog.

You can't put a book of poetry on the "read it" shelf; it just won't stay
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
David Whyte is a poet of remarkable depth. Born of an Irish mother, David oozes a distinct trace of that ancient personality, and the deliberate process of Irish poetry is ingrained in his work.

Whyte deals in universal themes; identity, home, and the sense of belonging. His attention to the detail of his prose is infectious to the point that every person who speaks about him can only use a voice that that doesn't belong to them in describing the man. He has a peculiar ability to unearth a
Howard Franklin
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Several weeks ago I reviewed David Whyte's collection of essays, Consolations, giving it a five-star rating, and opining that it was a very special book that offered keen and sensitive insights into various aspects of the living experience. While I was reading Consolations, I also began reading Whyte's 363-page collection of new and selected poems entitled River Flow, treating myself to one or two poems each day. And treat is the absolutely the right noun to use, as amongst the approximately 500 ...more
Deborah Taylor-French
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really want to buy a copy of this book. The poems span many years and subjects, which touch on Blake, friendship, grief, English and Irish landscapes, too many to describe and all with clear story lines. Remarkable the way David Whyte captures deep experience in clear and simple vocabulary.
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Poems to savor and revisit, year after year, compose the majority of this selection. Whyte is a meditative poet, following a muse to an insight, an image, a moment of wonder and often ending at the edge of what comes next.
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Getting to hear David Whyte recite his own poetry last year took me several stratospheres deeper into my love of and ability to connect with poetry. New vistas have opened up!
Karen Prive
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Whyte's words flow smoothly and the rhythms are so soothing. He paints vivid pictures with every poem, and it seemed he was exposing his soul. My only issue was my own issue - I felt like the deeper meaning within most of his poems lie just beyond my reach. I read many over and over again, trying to grasp the underlying message, and just couldn't quite get there. I can't fault Whyte for that - I read poetry once or twice a year and struggle with many poets. I did understand and thoroughly enjoy ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I've had many people surprised when two of my favorite writers show an amazing contrast in C.S. Lewis and Philip Larkin. Though I disagreed with the world view of one and agreed with the other, they both showed an honest perspective from their side. And I knew it would never be possible for someone to stand on both sides at once. However, David Whyte comes closer than I could have thought possible.

His poetry is beautiful, his imagination is simple yet vast, and the scope of his work is
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Coincidentally or not , The House of the Belonging is the first Whyte poem I have read and it remains my Whyte favorite. It’s one of those love at first sight things, this of mine with his poetry. I keep reading Whyte with much interest since.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is
David Ruch
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you do not know this author or his work you have missed out on one of the great 21st century minds deeply committed to helping translate the journey we call life. 100 select poems written from a intense and intentional awareness to everything. Pat Conroy says” David Whyte makes the reading of poetry a matter of life and death. His writings have moved me and changed me.” For 20 years now that is my truth as well.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of poems here. . .
And there are a lot of those I like.
There are a decent number I love.
And whatever that does or doesn't mean,
I think David Whyte is one of our mystics.
We need our mystics. As much as ever.
The New Yorker needs them back.
Poets with something to say...

This made for a good bedside book.
Something quiet, yet broody and Irish.
I wanted to keep reading each night.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Having read two books of Whyte's prose (Consolations and Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America") I have begun to delve into his poetry with this collection of his writings. He has a wonderful way with words and I have enjoy reading these poems.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like all collections, this one is uneven, but there are some stunning poems here. One of my favorite passages, from a poem called “When the Wind Flows”:

You realize, resembles more
An average life
Half hidden
Never fully spoken
Something you can grow used to.
Dario Durastanti
I was impressed with many of these poems for their unique ability to provide a calm sense of quiet.
Justin Banger
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Maybe my favorite poet. A lot of great poems in this collection.
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book of poetry. I really should give it a 5 star. I'm glad I own the copy because it is pretty marked up!
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
David Whyte is a new favorite poet of mine. This collection of new and selected poems contains profound, poignant, and wise explorations of place, relationships, family, grief, joy, and the creative life. A sample: Your great mistake is to act the drama/ as if you were alone. As if life/ were a progressive and cunning crime/ with no witness to the tiny hidden/ transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny/ the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely/ even you, at times, have felt the grand array;/ ...more
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm sure I will revisit this book again and again, as I do David Whyte's Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
David Whyte is one of my favorite poets (along with Mary Oliver and Robert Bly among others), and this book is a wonderful collection of some of his best older poems and some amazingly beautiful new ones. I highly recommend it to any poetry lover or anyone who is new to poetry and wants to start with accessible but absolutely beautiful poems.
Jul 11, 2016 added it
Honestly didn't finish it,, and won't rate it. I had heard a poem on the radio and loved it, so I bought the collection. I read the first 100 pages...... but found most of the poems bland and forgettable, with little beauty in the language.
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
David Whyte is my new favorite poet. When reading his poems, I can almost hear him recite them. Not all touched my heart in the same way, but the ones that do I will carry with me for many years to come!
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and disturbing poetry. Disturbing because David Whyte uses the language of poetry to raise important questions that can lead to life affirming insights.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully descriptive and inspirational poetry is to be read again and again. David Whyte's exquisite use of words and images always has new depths to discover.
Anna Beth
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Incredible! I always go back to this book time and time again. It will be in the "currently reading" category forever.I keep it on my nightstand like a bible.
Angela Arafelis
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Some of these pieces are a touchstone for me. I am always reading from this book!
Feb 18, 2009 is currently reading it
Love this book! Great collection of insightful poetry by David Whyte.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
The poems he wrote about the dying process of his mother were especially lovely.
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-essays
love this one. refer back often.
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
excerpt the journey:

sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you
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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
“one small thing
I've learned these years,

how to be alone,
and at the edge of aloneness
how to be found by the world.”
“It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
if you can know despair or see it in others,
I want to know

if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living, 
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.”
More quotes…