Emanations

Printed VALA for Members (let’s try this again!)

Printed VALA for Members (let’s try this again!)

Apologies for the delay. We've fixed the glitch, removed the gremlin and persuaded the Spectre to play ball. SO, once again... if you're a member of the Blake Society and you'd like to receive printed copies of our journal VALA, then read on to find out how. We've now published three issues of our annual journal, VALA, which remain available as free downloads. Late in 2021 we sent out printed copies of VALA 1 to members. It has always been our intention to do similarly with issues 2 and 3 but for various reasons that are (trust us) too tedious to go into we have so far failed to do so. We will soon be printing and posting VALA 2 and 3 to members but, particularly as these are considerably heftier tomes than issue 1, we want to ensure that we only send them to members who want them and...

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Blake’s Nativity

Blake’s Nativity

Stephen Pritchard reflects on Blake's treatment of the Christmas story and offers a poetic response of his own. The deep of winter came; What time the secret child, Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day: War ceas'd, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes.  I’ve always loved these lines from Blake’s Europe a Prophecy (1794) that describe the birth of Jesus/Orc in a beautiful parody of Milton’s On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity:  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44735/on-the-morning-of-christs-nativity In the 1970s I started writing a poem in response to Blake’s response to Milton. I would like to invite you to write your own response to their words. This is my offering, which I have just completed 42 years later. Pain Threshold I knew by his manna He...

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Blake’s font

Blake’s font

William Blake was baptised on Sunday 11 December 1757, 265 years ago. John Riordan wrote the following poem and read it at the online launch of VALA issue 3.   The Grinling Gibbons font you were Baptised in is formed into a marble tree. I like to think it is the Tree of Life That Eve sidles round, offering Adam A crisp Golden Delicious.   How many other babes were dipped In St. James’s cold holy sink That Sunday, embarking on their journeys  Down the River of Life, hoping to reach Seven coils of the worm? Hidden rivers, Covered over by London streets and clay.   Recently we’ve lost so many – Poets, musicians, writers, my cat. Yesterday the council came to chop Down the tree outside my gate. We will remember them by what they Left us – books, music, memories, a Stump. We...

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Happy Birthday William Blake! and VALA 3

Happy Birthday William Blake! and VALA 3

Today we launch the third issue of our journal, VALA. You can download it as a free pdf here. We, Sibylle Erle, John Riordan and Jason Whittaker, started on our journey about a year ago. Last November we decided to tackle yet another global issue: the Climate Crisis. Feeling deeply and passionately about Blake and his relevance to the social and environmental challenges of the modern world, we wondered how reading, viewing, and talking about Blake can help us to make a difference. That was the point when we started a VALA conversation about Blake and nature.  Blake is not a Nature Poet, which is a judgment long since reserved for Wordsworth, who wrote about the natural world and encounters with human beings in the landscape of the Lake District. And yet, the opening lines of ‘Auguries of...

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Visions, Voices & Emanations!

Visions, Voices & Emanations!

Welcome to our Blake Society Blog and news of a Blake season at St James’s’ Church, Piccadilly. This is our inaugural Emanation! We’ve borrowed ‘Emanation’, that mysterious term so beloved of Blake in his later poems, for the title of our Blog. We intend Emanations to be a place to discuss Blakean subjects and to draw your attention to events or news related to Blake.  And what a great subject for our first Emanation. St James’s Church, Piccadilly, in collaboration with The Blake Society, are holding a season of events in November and December, Visions & Voices: Echoes of William Blake.  Blake was born on 28 November 1757 and was baptised on 11 December that year at St James’s, his family’s parish church. (Incredibly you can still see the Grinling Gibbons where baby William was...

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Saint Maud – Review

Saint Maud – Review

Saint Maud is a taut, psychological horror film from first time director, Rose Glass. It stars Morfydd Clark as the eponymous Maud, an agency nurse who is assigned to care for terminally ill patient, Amanda, a former dancer and hell-raiser played by the luminous Jennifer Ehle (who, among other things, will always be my Elizabeth Bennet). Maud is a recent religious convert and, as her fervour grows and twists into something altogether less savoury, she sets her sights on saving Amanda’s soul before she departs this world. The Blake connection comes when Amanda gifts Maud a Morton D. Paley book on Blake. She is taken by his artwork and the little that she learns of Blake’s fiercely personal take on religion, and soon his apocalyptic spiritual imagery is incorporated into Maud’s religious...

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Divine Images

Divine Images

Jason Whittaker reveals how speaking with Blake on a daily basis has shaped his own attitudes to art, religion and politics. Considering how powerful Blake has been in my life, it would be tempting to say that he hasalways been there, and it would be delightful to draw upon memories of reading Blake in childhood – yet they do not really exist. I’m sure that I read – or at least heard – ‘The Tyger’, yet I had no real idea about who or what Blake was. As I moved into my teenage years, music was a pathway into Romanticism, but my Goth sensibilities were attracted much more strongly towards Byron, Shelley and Coleridge rather than Blake. He was on the periphery of my knowledge and understanding. There was one exception – a running family joke – that gradually piqued my curiosity. My...

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Billy Blake’s Cab or The Vehicular Form of William Blake

Billy Blake’s Cab or The Vehicular Form of William Blake

John Riordan discovered Blake as a teenager and his exploits in illustration and cartooning have been driven by the uncompromising poet and artist ever since. My mum is too modest to take credit but I’m pretty sure that she introduced me to William Blake. I remember at some point her giving me the crucial piece of info that the Old Testament beardy figures in Blake’s artwork weren’t necessarily the good guys. The first concrete appearances of Blake in my life that I can pinpoint are the Peter Ackroyd biography (1995) and the Blur song ‘Magpie’, which (appropriately enough) filched its lyrics from ‘A Poison Tree’ from Songs of Experience. ‘Magpie’ came out in 1994 (as a b-side of ‘Girls and Boys’) but I’m not sure I twigged that the words were Blake’s until later. Still, I was definitely...

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Printed VALA for Members (let’s try this again!)

Printed VALA for Members (let’s try this again!)

Apologies for the delay. We've fixed the glitch, removed the gremlin and persuaded the Spectre to play ball. SO, once again... if you're a member of the Blake Society and you'd like to receive printed copies of our journal VALA, then read on to find out how. We've now published three issues of our annual journal, VALA, which remain available as free downloads. Late in 2021 we sent out printed...

read more
Blake’s Nativity

Blake’s Nativity

Stephen Pritchard reflects on Blake's treatment of the Christmas story and offers a poetic response of his own. The deep of winter came; What time the secret child, Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day: War ceas'd, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes.  I’ve always loved these lines from Blake’s Europe a Prophecy (1794) that describe the birth of Jesus/Orc in a...

read more
Blake’s font

Blake’s font

William Blake was baptised on Sunday 11 December 1757, 265 years ago. John Riordan wrote the following poem and read it at the online launch of VALA issue 3.   The Grinling Gibbons font you were Baptised in is formed into a marble tree. I like to think it is the Tree of Life That Eve sidles round, offering Adam A crisp Golden Delicious.   How many other babes were dipped In St. James’s...

read more
Happy Birthday William Blake! and VALA 3

Happy Birthday William Blake! and VALA 3

Today we launch the third issue of our journal, VALA. You can download it as a free pdf here. We, Sibylle Erle, John Riordan and Jason Whittaker, started on our journey about a year ago. Last November we decided to tackle yet another global issue: the Climate Crisis. Feeling deeply and passionately about Blake and his relevance to the social and environmental challenges of the modern world, we...

read more
Visions, Voices & Emanations!

Visions, Voices & Emanations!

Welcome to our Blake Society Blog and news of a Blake season at St James’s’ Church, Piccadilly. This is our inaugural Emanation! We’ve borrowed ‘Emanation’, that mysterious term so beloved of Blake in his later poems, for the title of our Blog. We intend Emanations to be a place to discuss Blakean subjects and to draw your attention to events or news related to Blake.  And what a great subject...

read more
Saint Maud – Review

Saint Maud – Review

Saint Maud is a taut, psychological horror film from first time director, Rose Glass. It stars Morfydd Clark as the eponymous Maud, an agency nurse who is assigned to care for terminally ill patient, Amanda, a former dancer and hell-raiser played by the luminous Jennifer Ehle (who, among other things, will always be my Elizabeth Bennet). Maud is a recent religious convert and, as her fervour...

read more
Divine Images

Divine Images

Jason Whittaker reveals how speaking with Blake on a daily basis has shaped his own attitudes to art, religion and politics. Considering how powerful Blake has been in my life, it would be tempting to say that he hasalways been there, and it would be delightful to draw upon memories of reading Blake in childhood – yet they do not really exist. I’m sure that I read – or at least heard – ‘The...

read more
Billy Blake’s Cab or The Vehicular Form of William Blake

Billy Blake’s Cab or The Vehicular Form of William Blake

John Riordan discovered Blake as a teenager and his exploits in illustration and cartooning have been driven by the uncompromising poet and artist ever since. My mum is too modest to take credit but I’m pretty sure that she introduced me to William Blake. I remember at some point her giving me the crucial piece of info that the Old Testament beardy figures in Blake’s artwork weren’t necessarily...

read more
Blake’s Nativity

Blake’s Nativity

Stephen Pritchard reflects on Blake's treatment of the Christmas story and offers a poetic response of his own. The deep of winter came; What time the secret child, Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day: War ceas'd, & all the...

read more
Blake’s font

Blake’s font

William Blake was baptised on Sunday 11 December 1757, 265 years ago. John Riordan wrote the following poem and read it at the online launch of VALA issue 3.   The Grinling Gibbons font you were Baptised in is formed into a marble tree. I like...

read more
Happy Birthday William Blake! and VALA 3

Happy Birthday William Blake! and VALA 3

Today we launch the third issue of our journal, VALA. You can download it as a free pdf here. We, Sibylle Erle, John Riordan and Jason Whittaker, started on our journey about a year ago. Last November we decided to tackle yet another global issue:...

read more
Visions, Voices & Emanations!

Visions, Voices & Emanations!

Welcome to our Blake Society Blog and news of a Blake season at St James’s’ Church, Piccadilly. This is our inaugural Emanation! We’ve borrowed ‘Emanation’, that mysterious term so beloved of Blake in his later poems, for the title of our Blog. We...

read more
Saint Maud – Review

Saint Maud – Review

Saint Maud is a taut, psychological horror film from first time director, Rose Glass. It stars Morfydd Clark as the eponymous Maud, an agency nurse who is assigned to care for terminally ill patient, Amanda, a former dancer and hell-raiser played...

read more
Divine Images

Divine Images

Jason Whittaker reveals how speaking with Blake on a daily basis has shaped his own attitudes to art, religion and politics. Considering how powerful Blake has been in my life, it would be tempting to say that he hasalways been there, and it would...

read more