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The Heart Aroused

Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

Book review Copyright © 1994, 1997 by Bert H. Hoff

David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul. (New York, NY: Doubleday/Currency, 1994). Order on-line: Paperback. About David Whyte.

 


David Whyte
David Whyte

Heart Aroused book cover
The Heart Aroused
by David Whyte
Order on-line


Order on-line

David White, in this book, has done something I felt would be impossible. Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, characterizes this book as "truly extraordinary." And rightfully so. Many of us who have gone to Menís Gatherings have come away inspired, but at a loss to see how to put the "mythopoetic" perspective to work in our own lives. David Whyte, much to my surprise, has found a way to do this. He delivers on the impossible mission in his sub-title, "poetry and the preservation of the soul in corporate America." I didnít think it could be done.

The book was written for those who have chosen to live out their lives as managers and employees in postmodern Corporate America, and who struggle to keep their humanity in the process. It attempts, successfully in my opinion, to look at the stress of the split between our worklife and that part of our soul life forced to go underground. This split between what is nourishing at work and what is agonizing is the very chasm from which our personal destiny emerges. Accepting the presence of this chasm we can begin to deal, one step at a time, with the continually hidden, underground forces that shape our lives, often against our will. In Davidís words, the poet needs the practicalities of earning a living to test and temper the lyricism of insight and observation. The corporation needs the poetís insight and powers of attention to weave the inner world of soul and creativity with the outer world of form and matter. The meeting of these two worlds forms the very heart of this book.

He explores in depth the story of Beowulf, and Fionn and the Salmon of Knowledge. He brings in a story from Allan Chinenís Once Upon a Midlife, one of my favorite books. He explores balance between the fire of creativity and cold, dispassionate ice. He draws upon the implications of the modern science of chaos, brought out by James Gleick's book of the same name. He does this with a lyrical and insightful style that make this a very enjoyable, as well as thought-provoking and important book.


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 Poetry and Personal Passion Poetry And Personal Passion: The Ecology Of Mind And Heart, an article by David Whyte. While we are probably all aware of the "mythopoetic men's movement," most of us, I suspect, are not aware of the mythopoetic in our literary and cultural tradition, which existed long before Robert Bly's work became popular. Shepherd Bliss, who first coined the term "mythopoetic men's movement," clarified that he had not coined the term "mythopoetic," but had simply applied the term to Men's Work. As Shepherd explained, "Mythopoetic" is not "myth + poetry." It is the creation of new myths in our own lives. We publish this interview to elaborate on these themes. This article is adapted from David's compilation and elaboration of two interviews for KQED radio in San Francisco, and is based on a version published in Magical Blend. We use it with the kind permission of David Whyte.


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