Emanations

Auguries of Innocence – Looking at Words

Auguries of Innocence – Looking at Words

On Monday 22 May the Blake Society attended Swedenborg House to launch Ruskin Arts Publications' new visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’, collating Cambridge School of Art graphic design students' letterpress interpretations of Blake's poem. Below is an edited version of a speech, given on the night, by Sibylle Erle, Chair of the Blake Society. When Nick Jeeves asked me to write and say something about Blake, my favourite artist, and ‘Auguries of Innocence’, a text I knew but had never worked on, I was delighted but also terrified because I didn’t know where to start. ‘Auguries of Innocence’ is a manuscript poem. It’s a fair copy, it includes all of Blake’s revisions and corrections; it has no pictures. It consists of 66 couplets as well as one quatrain: To see a World in a Grain...

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The Innocent Printer

The Innocent Printer

Next month Ruskin Arts Publications, supported by The Blake Society, publishes a new visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’. In advance of the launch event on Monday 22 May at Swedenborg House, some reflections by editor and project director Nicholas Jeeves. On the front cover of our book, titled Auguries of Innocence: First Experiences with Letterpress, a short piece of text sets the scene: Each year from 2014 to 2018 graphic design students at Cambridge School of Art were assigned a brief: to typeset and print in letterpress a couplet from William Blake’s ‘Auguries of Innocence’. None of them had used letterpress before. A selection of their prints is collected in this unique visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’, comprising the poem in its entirety and revealing an intriguing...

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Paradise Restored: Blake’s Lambeth Mosaics

Paradise Restored: Blake’s Lambeth Mosaics

Anna Stearman, Programme Manager for the School of Ideas, Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College, writes about their current project to restore the mosaics of Blake's Lambeth. I’m standing in a light-filled art room at Hillcroft College, ten miles west of London Waterloo. Many thousands of tiny tiles are gathered on benches around me, arranged by size, texture and colour. These are single ‘pages’ of an enormous, unbound book: emanations in mosaic from Songs of Innocence and of Experience. These are pages that, until recently, were only to be seen mounted in the underground tunnels, streets and walkways of Lambeth, around Waterloo Station in London. Made from ceramic, vitreous glass, stone, bone and marble, what I am seeing are interpretations of pages from one of the most...

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Carolyn Cassady’s Painting

Carolyn Cassady’s Painting

Here at Golgonooza Towers (the imaginary headquarters of The Blake Society), we recently received a fascinating email from Jami Cassady Ratto, the daughter of Neal and Carolyn Cassady.  For those not in the know, Neal Cassady was the fast-talking, hard-living muse of the Beat Generation, immortalised by Jack Kerouac as Dean Moriarty in On the Road and Cody Pomeray in his later novels. In the 60s he joined Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and drove their psychedelic bus. Carolyn met and married Neal in the 40s and had long relationships with Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Her memoir, Off the Road: Twenty Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg was published in 1990. What I hadn’t realised is that for the last 30 years of her life Carolyn lived in England, at first in London and later in...

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Los’s Light and the Swedenborg Window

Los’s Light and the Swedenborg Window

A Creative Connections post by artist Andrea McLean. The Frontispiece of William Blake’s illuminated book Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion shows a luminous symbol. The concentric disk of light can be seen simply as a lamp light. At first, this is the way the overall plate is likely to be understood. A figure, Los, the archetypal artist, steps over the threshold of a gothic arched door. Circles of light show the place where, if there was a lamp, a lamp would be. Los, however, does not hold a lamp. His fingers hold nothing of any weight, they are separated and integrated into the light. The lightest hold, the easiest way to hold something in one hand when walking, named the ‘satchel-hold’, employs fingers loosely folded under the handle which is held in place by gravity. Los’s...

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William Blake’s Phantom Face

William Blake’s Phantom Face

To accompany her talk at the Wellcome Collection, Chair of the Blake Society, Sibylle Erle, dims the lights and examines Blake’s macabre and mysterious Ghost of a Flea. William Blake was never the eccentric loner that his early biographers made him out to be. Blake had visions but he wasn’t mad. He was a Londoner and lived in a thriving metropolis. He went to a drawing school, was apprenticed to an engraver and studied at the Royal Academy. He was in a supportive relationship, had a close-knit family, many friends, patrons and employers. He was an avid reader, took note of radical politics and sympathised with Swedenborgianism. Though many of his ambitions were thwarted in the emerging print market, every aspect of Blake’s life gives opportunity to think about Blake’s social life.  John...

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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 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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Auguries of Innocence – Looking at Words

Auguries of Innocence – Looking at Words

On Monday 22 May the Blake Society attended Swedenborg House to launch Ruskin Arts Publications' new visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’, collating Cambridge School of Art graphic design students' letterpress interpretations of Blake's poem. Below is an edited version of a speech, given on the night, by Sibylle Erle, Chair of the Blake Society. When Nick Jeeves asked me to write and say...

read more
The Innocent Printer

The Innocent Printer

Next month Ruskin Arts Publications, supported by The Blake Society, publishes a new visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’. In advance of the launch event on Monday 22 May at Swedenborg House, some reflections by editor and project director Nicholas Jeeves. On the front cover of our book, titled Auguries of Innocence: First Experiences with Letterpress, a short piece of text sets the scene:...

read more
Paradise Restored: Blake’s Lambeth Mosaics

Paradise Restored: Blake’s Lambeth Mosaics

Anna Stearman, Programme Manager for the School of Ideas, Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College, writes about their current project to restore the mosaics of Blake's Lambeth. I’m standing in a light-filled art room at Hillcroft College, ten miles west of London Waterloo. Many thousands of tiny tiles are gathered on benches around me, arranged by size, texture and colour. These are...

read more
Carolyn Cassady’s Painting

Carolyn Cassady’s Painting

Here at Golgonooza Towers (the imaginary headquarters of The Blake Society), we recently received a fascinating email from Jami Cassady Ratto, the daughter of Neal and Carolyn Cassady.  For those not in the know, Neal Cassady was the fast-talking, hard-living muse of the Beat Generation, immortalised by Jack Kerouac as Dean Moriarty in On the Road and Cody Pomeray in his later novels. In the 60s...

read more
Los’s Light and the Swedenborg Window

Los’s Light and the Swedenborg Window

A Creative Connections post by artist Andrea McLean. The Frontispiece of William Blake’s illuminated book Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion shows a luminous symbol. The concentric disk of light can be seen simply as a lamp light. At first, this is the way the overall plate is likely to be understood. A figure, Los, the archetypal artist, steps over the threshold of a gothic arched...

read more
William Blake’s Phantom Face

William Blake’s Phantom Face

To accompany her talk at the Wellcome Collection, Chair of the Blake Society, Sibylle Erle, dims the lights and examines Blake’s macabre and mysterious Ghost of a Flea. William Blake was never the eccentric loner that his early biographers made him out to be. Blake had visions but he wasn’t mad. He was a Londoner and lived in a thriving metropolis. He went to a drawing school, was apprenticed to...

read more
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
Auguries of Innocence – Looking at Words

Auguries of Innocence – Looking at Words

On Monday 22 May the Blake Society attended Swedenborg House to launch Ruskin Arts Publications' new visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’, collating Cambridge School of Art graphic design students' letterpress interpretations of Blake's poem....

read more
The Innocent Printer

The Innocent Printer

Next month Ruskin Arts Publications, supported by The Blake Society, publishes a new visual edition of ‘Auguries of Innocence’. In advance of the launch event on Monday 22 May at Swedenborg House, some reflections by editor and project director...

read more
Paradise Restored: Blake’s Lambeth Mosaics

Paradise Restored: Blake’s Lambeth Mosaics

Anna Stearman, Programme Manager for the School of Ideas, Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College, writes about their current project to restore the mosaics of Blake's Lambeth. I’m standing in a light-filled art room at Hillcroft College,...

read more
Carolyn Cassady’s Painting

Carolyn Cassady’s Painting

Here at Golgonooza Towers (the imaginary headquarters of The Blake Society), we recently received a fascinating email from Jami Cassady Ratto, the daughter of Neal and Carolyn Cassady.  For those not in the know, Neal Cassady was the fast-talking,...

read more
Los’s Light and the Swedenborg Window

Los’s Light and the Swedenborg Window

A Creative Connections post by artist Andrea McLean. The Frontispiece of William Blake’s illuminated book Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion shows a luminous symbol. The concentric disk of light can be seen simply as a lamp light. At...

read more
William Blake’s Phantom Face

William Blake’s Phantom Face

To accompany her talk at the Wellcome Collection, Chair of the Blake Society, Sibylle Erle, dims the lights and examines Blake’s macabre and mysterious Ghost of a Flea. William Blake was never the eccentric loner that his early biographers made him...

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