The Leaders Notebook

Hard questions, ambiguity and opinion for leaders

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PonderThis: Leadership and Poetry?

April 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Leadership, Literature and Myth, PonderThis

April is National Poetry Month and I would like to suggest that you spend a little time with a poet this weekend.  You might not think of poetry as fair game for a leadership blog.  But that is only if you have not encountered David Whyte.

Through both his books and his poetry, David has a nearly miraculous way of engaging in leadership through conversation, imagery and yes, poetry.  If you have the opportunity to hear him speak, I strongly urge you to take it- especially if you are wrestling with questions of leadership.

But for now, here is my PonderThis weekend invitation:  Make some time this weekend to sit somewhere quiet for an hour or so.  But first go to the library and check out a copy of Crossing the Unknown Sea or The Heart Aroused.  Or better yet, go straight for a book of David’s poetry or an audio disk of his reading or presentations.  When you have spent an hour or more with it, feel free to come back here and post your thoughts.  My guess is that you will have a new respect for the partnership between poetry and leadership.  To get you on your way, here is a quote from Crossing the Unknown Sea.

“Through work, human beings earn for themselves and their families, make a difficult world habitable, and with imagination, create some meaning from what they do and how they do it. The human approach to work can be naïve, fatalistic, power-mad, money-grubbing, unenthusiastic, cynical, detached, and obsessive. It can also be selflessly mature, revelatory and life giving; mature in its long-reaching effects, and life giving in the way it gives back to an individual or society as much as it has taken. Almost always it is both, a sky full of light and dark, with all the varied weather of an individual life blowing through it.”

Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

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