Selected Poetry by William Blake (
My thanks go out to Rhys Davies for giving me this book to read as I have been skirting around the thought of reading William Blake for a good few years and have got used to hearing other poeple reading his poems, everyone from Patti Smith to the guy who read all of Blakes poetry in a year on resonance fm so I knew what I was letting myself in for.
William Blake is not the easiest of reads as he writes very dense poetry on very heavy themes and tackles his own love hate relationship with the church and religion. All wrapped up in extremely verbose English that you need a dictionary to get through as well as his choice of character names mean you also need a thorough knowledge of the Bible, Paradise Lost and any number of mythologies to figure out who Afric, Caiaphas or Urizen might be, or what some of the poems are about. but for me the joy of reading them is in the rythyms of the words and finding lines full of profound meaning.
I found the longer pieces the hardest to read or follow and that was only made worse in Jerusalem as the idiots editing this book decided we could do without over 2000 lines of Jerusalem, it still came in at over 50 pages but with nothing telling us what happened in the culled lines I’m not sure if the full story becomes clear in the entire poem or not. I also wonder at the point of having copious notes at the back if you don’t have numbers on the pages referring to the notes as having finished the book I saw no point in trying to cross refer the notes with the poems as I read them, but had they been numbered in the normal way I would have read them.
One thing I am sure of is that reading these poems will help my own efforts as drinking in Blakes rich imagery can only help me to look at things in another way.