Midlife and the Great Unknown

  • by David Whyte
  • Narrated by David Whyte
  • 2 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost." When you find yourself suddenly without bearings, as Dante Alighieri voiced so well centuries ago, where will you look for guidance? Throughout the ages, teaches David Whyte, the language of poetry has held a special power to hazard ourselves boldly at the "fierce edges" of our lives. On Midlife and the Great Unknown, you will engage with poetic imagination as it was meant to be experienced: as your companion and guide for the challenging terrain of midlife. Join this Yorkshire-born poet and bestselling author to explore:
"Radical simplification": an invitation to sit in silent reflection and observation

Using your poetic imagination to navigate life's cycles of loss and joy

Honoring who you are right now, including your skills and limitations, and moreThe language of poetry can "emancipate" you into the next phase of your existence, teaches David Whyte. It can help you break through obstacles and give you courage to take necessary risks. Drawing from the wisdom of fellow poets Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, and Seamus Heaney, Whyte invites you to boldly engage in a conversation with the second half of your life on Midlife and the Great Unknown.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Favorite long drive CD

Would you listen to Midlife and the Great Unknown again? Why?

I do listen to it again and again and find new aspects of David's narrative every time I listen to it again.


What did you like best about this story?

I first met David Whyte at a CEO Roundtable retreat in Boston 3-4 years ago and immediately afterwards got this CD (this was before I was a member of Audible) and all his books. It's the kind of poetry and narrative that you cannot read as a "gulp" but need to read 1-2 poems a day or when the mood strikes and think about it. Sometimes I open the book randomly and read a poem. I have favorites and re-read them periodically. David's way with words is so unusual, eloquent and at the same time eloquent not in a sense of futile fancifulness, but able to express deep feelings in very few carefully chosen and positioned words. Nothing to add, nothing to trip. Perfect expression of one man's feelings at one particular moment.


What does David Whyte bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

David reads his (and other poets') poetry in a very special way: the way he uses pauses and repeats some lines makes poems "penetrate" you with a special force. I probably would not have understood all of his poetry had I not first met David Whyte in person and heard him read his poems.


What insight do you think you’ll apply from Midlife and the Great Unknown?

Too many to list, but main one is "being on the frontier" where we all are every day and every moment of our lives and how we deal with this frontier: before making first step into scary unknown, it is best to first find the ground on which you stand. Finding that foundation is what many people spend lifetime doing. It is right there, otherwise you would not exist - and yet it takes deliberate attention to really know what it is.


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- Katherine

Great book

David pushes the limits of experience and shows us how to create value in our lives through poetry. He is truly one of a kind.
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- ashley harris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-12-2008
  • Publisher: Sounds True