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The Paradox and Poetry of Modern Love: Keeping Desire Alive amid A World of Distractions and Difficulties 

Relationships are going through a complex cultural shift. Expectations on intimate partnerships are at an all-time high, yet we often lack the tools, the resources and the imagination to reach this new Olympus. Join iconic couples therapist Esther Perel and internationally acclaimed poet David Whyte as they shine a light on the state of modern love and the interplay of love, lust and commitment. 

“I believe that the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” says Perel who is recognised as one of the world’s most original and insightful voices on modern love. Fluent in nine languages, Esther is a global psychotherapist, New York Times bestselling author, and her celebrated TED Talks have garnered more than 28 million views.

Joining her at events in Johannesburg and Cape Town in October is David Whyte, an internationally acclaimed poet and author of 9 books of poetry, a book of essays beloved by Brain Pickings' Maria Popova and acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert, and three books of prose exploring the nature of work and relationships in human life.

Both Perel and Whyte will bring to these talks their own unique blend of philosophy, insight and experience as they talk about the Paradox and Poetry of Modern Love: Keeping Desire Alive amid A World of Distractions and Difficulties . Relationships are going through a complex cultural shift. Expectations on intimate partnerships are at an all-time high, yet we lack the tools, resources, and the imagination to navigate this new territory. Perel and Whyte will shine a light on the state of modern love and the interplay of love, lust, and commitment.

Whyte was last in South Africa 2 years ago and enjoyed sell-out events in Cape Town and Johannesburg with his talk entitled A Timeless Way: The Art and Practice of Deepening Any Conversation. Perel will be in South Africa for the first time, following recent sell out talks in Paris and Sydney.

Perel’s first book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence , has been translated into nearly 30 languages, and her newest book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, hit the New York Times bestseller list upon release in 2017. A journalist writing for the New York Times said that “Perhaps not since Dr. Ruth commandeered American airwaves in the 1980s has there been a public figure with so much of an audience for her work on human sexuality.”

Esther Perel is the daughter of two Polish-born Holocaust survivors and was raised in Antwerp, Belgium. She has expanded her international acclaim through her award-winning podcast Where Should We Begin? , which allows audiences to tune in to one-time couples’ therapy sessions, a ground-breaking approach that has earned her innumerable fans around the globe. For more information, go to .

British-born Whyte lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. He holds a degree in Marine Zoology, honorary degrees from Neumann College and Royal Roads University, and has travelled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes, Amazon and Himalaya. He brings his wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops. A captivating speaker with a unique blend of poetry, humour and deep philosophical insight, David Whyte speaks to sold-out audiences around the world. In addition, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on change, creativity and the qualities vital to good leadership into the field of organisational development, where he works with large and small companies across the globe. He is particularly sought-after for his work in the area of Conversational Leadership . For more information go to .

Find out why Pat Conroy, author of several acclaimed novels and memoirs, including Prince of Tides , said “David Whyte makes the reading of poetry a matter of life and death”.

When and where?

Kelvin Grove Ballroom
Campground Road 144
Cape Town
South Africa

Sun 27 Oct 2019 at 8:30 AM (SAST)
Sun 27 Oct 2019 at 12:30 PM (SAST)

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Organiser details

David Whyte and Esther Perel