4F: WILLIAM BLAKE 1757-1827

Next Friday we’ll start reading one of my favorite poets and artists: WILLIAM BLAKE


No other poet could better embody the pure essence of Creativity, the fight against the injustices of his time and the constant wish to balance & blend the OPPOSITE FORCES of life in a PERENNIAL QUEST  FOR HARMONY which will be one of the main threads – together with Human Rights and  breaking down of certainties also touched by his production – running through our syllabus.  I’ve found a TV documentary you may find interesting. In order to help you while listening, I’ve created some true/False questions with EDPUZZLE. (In the first you register and sign to my class so that I can track your work while in the second you can foo the activity as a guest)

Since Blake’s message according to the documentary was: EMBRACE A WORLD OF CREATIVITY I’ve chosen this second video animation, highly visual.

You can see his paintings at this BBC Website. They’re stunning and highly impressive. Some of them refer to Dante’s Divina Commedia and you’ll find them familiar 😉

The last video is an animation. Sheila Graber was Commissioned by the Tate Gallery to create a movie for their 1977 Blake Exhibition. She was even invited down into the Sculpture Hall where she actually made the movie in public view – thus demonstrating how animation on cel is actually done. It follows “The Poets” journey from Heaven to Hell and back… showing that, as Blake said, “Energy is Eternal delight and whether we create of destroy-it’s the same energy.”

Now I hope you’ll be ready and eager to know more about this great artist and read together in class some of his poems.


Here’s the poem The Lamb from Songs of Innocence we read in class

Here’s Tyger Tyger from The Songs of Experience

I guess you don’t know who Patty Smith is, you’re definitely too young but she’s an icon of rock culture like Bob Dylan. I went to her concert in Bologna when I was your age and she was in Italy performing a few months ago. Here she reads ‘The Tyger’ during a benefit concert for the museum Wadsworth Atheneum on October 20, 2011.

If you’re a fan of the crime series The Mentalist Blake was even quoted in one of its episodes 🙂

How did you like that animation for such a complex poet as William Blake? Does it suit his work? Which of the two poems The Lamb & The Tyger did you like best and why?

8 thoughts on “4F: WILLIAM BLAKE 1757-1827

  1. I really like William’s Blake scepltical but not hesitant attitude towards life.
    All things considered, he was a daredevil. In his paintings it’s visible he didn’t mind having common sense when he representing incredible figures dominated by irrationality and fervour… instead of the perfect, sober, traditional ones.
    The figure that really impressed me is the subject of one of Bake’s most famoust paintings, who evidently “rejects its rationality” out of him, on the floor, as if it was a bad, poisonous drug. It is sensational.

  2. For the first time I totally agree with a poet! Blake in this case 🙂 WE HAVE TO LEAVE OUR MIND TO TRAVEL WHEREVER IT WANTS, OVER ALL BORDERS. In our world all people are only able to give us rules or to put limits on the things that we do, but the mind is the only one that doesn’t have any type of limits, because nobody has the right to say to us what we have to think or not. So we have to take advantage of this big present that has been given to us, instead of underestimating every day the power of our mind. It seems to us a thing taken for granted, but actually we couldn’t live without it..So we have to think, rethink, immagine, analize all the time, until the exhaustion because our life is short, and even if the world doesn’t go on as we want we can always take shelter in our thoughts!!

  3. “EMBRACE A WORLD OF CREATIVITY” when I first heard these word I was amazed because Blake differs a lot from the artists of his time, his paintings are stunning, the colors are bright and like Blake says they are creative!

    I’m really glad that an artist like him has a total different point of view, his creations at the first sight are scary, strange and very particular without a specific meaning, but if you watch closely you will discover a lot of interpretations.

    This is what I like about Blake: You need to observe, use your imagination to really understand things!

    • Shade that’s what I feel too! William Blake’s pieces of art leave me amazed! I find extraordinary his intent to privilege creativity over rationality..and even more the way he expressed this very eccentric message in each of his paintings. Watching Blake’s paintings I feel sensibly persuaded into giving away the habit to see the world through the eyes of reason (which was typical of his time, the Enlightment). For instance, they take me to embrace a world beyond imagination, a different reality: unrealistic, absurd but so catching!

  4. Blake is really absurd and I totally agree with his way of thinking and his message!!
    His paintings are truly shocking, because at the moment you don’t understand them very well:colors, shapes, shadows obscure the view… but if you focus and think about what the man said in the video you can find a way to interpret them and they really open your mind and improve your way to see things! Now I understand why they have been very successful especially in the 60’s 😉
    Really incredible, I can’t wait to study it better!!

  5. Love the second video, the one by Sheila Graber! I was like “wtf is happening?! Omg what is this? What is that? Why?!” for the entire video!
    I didn’t like so much the soundtrack with Doors in the documentary.. Or better, I have to say that I loved it so much that I couldn’t concentrate on what the men were saying and I was always singing, also the instrumental parts ahah 🙂 but I think, related to what I saw in these videos, that Jim Morrison and William Blake are sooo similar. Now I understrand why Blake has been brought back in the ’60!

  6. today we talked about the possible causes of the war between the isis and the christians and one of my classmates said that maybe the christians and the muslims don’t communicate with each other. william blake said in the poem “a poison tree”:
    i was angry with my friend
    i told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    i was angry with my foe:
    i told it not, my wrath did grow.
    i agree with him. if the people were communicating more than it would be less hatred in the world. between the videos that i saw, i liked more the second because the painting “the great red dragon and the woman clothed in sun” scared me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.