The Contributors: biographies and statements
Felicity Roma Bowers p7
Blake has been a presence all my life: ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Songs of Innocence’ at school; a childhood holiday at Felpham where I saw his cottage; meeting his Dante's Inferno watercolours in the depths of the Tate as a teenager; exploring the Prophetic Books in my twenties.
His philosophy, expressed in oft quoted aphorisms, shapes my life. His example as a working artist and printmaker is an inspirational role model, one that keeps me awake and alive particularly in adversity; facing a difficult client when working to commission or facing the indifference and materialism of the world (or co-compiling an artists’ book for his birthday at the very last minute!). His resourcefulness, determination and inventiveness as a printmaker has inspired my experimentation. His desire to communicate his vision to the world encourages me not to ‘cease from mental fight’ ever.
I am an artist, printmaker, sometime illustrator and teacher, born in London, now living in Bath. I originally trained in Twickenham, then Bristol, then Bristol again recently for an MA in Multi disciplinary Printmaking. I illustrated book covers for Penguin, Ted Hughes poetry for Bodley Head, album covers, cookery books and sweet wrappers amongst others. In tandem with this I have always exhibited my own work in group and solo shows and have been involved in several small publishing projects, the latest of which is the William Blake Birthday Book
Moyra Caldecott p53
Moyra Caldecott is a novelist. Born in South Africa she has been writing since childhood. She is passionately interested in the meanings of myth and legends on every level. – spiritual, psychic, physical. Her numerous books explore these themes. She lives in Bath.
Karen Camp p58
My introduction to William Blake came during my Foundation year in Farnham when I undertook a course studying his Songs of Innocence and Experience and making our own Blake inspired journal. I often reflect on this influential and inspiring experience which has remained with me and coloured the ensuing years.
I work as an Art Therapist with children and young people in the Scottish Borders.
Brian Catling p10
“The Flea” is part of my recent retellings of Blake’s horrible vision (it is his dark imagination that spurs me on ) those terrible visions that crawl and tango through blood coloured interiors.
all inspired The Ghost.
There are extracts of my poem in the image.
This is taken from the PITTANCER a small book of themed poetry.
The Pittancer was first seen in the remains of Glastonbury Abbey. Here it is a skeleton of something that should be made of denser flesh, clad in sturdier stuff.
It partially sucks on images conjured by William Blake, his wereflea, Nebucadnezzar and angels. It cites his presence and visions, so fundamentally bolted to England. It is possible that an overcoat of prose might grow over these ribs some day.
Michael Chaitow p28
Michael Chaitow is a Painter whose work has a symbolist quality through themes developed from nature and natural forms, as well as the human figure. His paintings share something of the form and metaphysical concerns of William Blake.
He studied at the Central St. Martins school of Art, London, after an initial few years working as a commercial artist in Advertising. A further formative experience was a subsequent two - year Commonwealth Painting Scholarship in India.
William Blake has been a presence and an inspiration throughout my painting career. His works are a shining light, proclaiming the ‘Spiritual Self’, the life of the inner man and woman that links to the Divine. His images are established icons of our culture lifting the mind from the mundane and transitory towards the world of eternal certainties. His depicted figures are full of energy, or rather his figures are energy taking form. Blake shows us that we do not just have one body but rather several bodies, from the outer physical body through the various ‘sheath’ covering the Soul or the ‘Eternal body of Man’.
I have chosen his statement ‘Energy is eternal delight ‘, depicting his figure ‘Glad day’ emanating the energies of the Self.
Kristin Charlesworth p49
William Blake has been a source of inspiration for me because of his dedication to truth and experience. His depth of spiritual and artistic understanding lays a path ahead for those who are willing to explore the inner worlds of the conscious and unconscious.
My life has taken an artistic path into exploring the hidden mysterious nature of the Soul. I am interested in creating a dialogue through my music and art by listening to my dreams, visions and my relationship to nature as a way of discovering a pathway to wholeness and attunement to self.
Exhibited: New Grafton and Member New Grafton Gallery Portrait Library; New English Arts Club; Royal Academy Summer Exhibition; Le Frisson Gallery; Phoenix Gallery; Haringay Arts Centre; Foyles Gallery; Actors Institute; The Chagford Gallery; The South West Open House Studios; Praxis 11 Gallery; Brunner Gallery
Studied: Camberwell School of Art, Bath Academy and Hornsey College of Art. Qualified: First class BA fine arts.
Paul Francis Cheetham
Alias ...Jean Paul Dionysus -Ruskinson- Space Toad p55
Maybe I don’t see exactly the same tree that William Blake did that links heaven with earth. However I feel that as a fellow Sagittarian that I am linked with him by the mystical , illuminative vision and energy of mythical centaur.
I have always lived my life and still do in Blakeian spirit as an artist , musician, poet and troubadour. Always keeping close to my dream as Blake did.
In 1988 I was invited to play some of my songs at the William Blake Birthday Congregation arranged by Simon Miles at the National Portrait Gallery. Here I met some wonderful fellow Blakeians whom I have remained in contact with ever since, like a silver spiritual thread running through my life.
Michael Collins p37
Place of origin - Runcorn, Cheshire.
Studied at: Halton College, Widnes,1992-1994, John Moores University, Liverpool, 1994-1997, Royal Academy schools, London,1997-2000.
Jane Dowling p19
“Damn Braces; Bless Relaxes”.
Born 1925, 1943-46 St Anne’s College, Oxford. 1943-46 studied at the Ruskin School of Art. 1946-49 and 1959-61 Byam Shaw School of Art.1961-63 Central School of Art. Has taught at the Byam Shaw School of Art, Maidstone School of Art and Ruskin School of Art and for 30 years at the Royal Academy Schools. Exhibited at the Royal Academy since 1961. Joint Arts Council Touring Exhibition with Peter Greenham 1985. Among other exhibitions: “The Glass of Vision”, Chichester 1987; The Long Perspective, Agnew’s, 1987; a Personal Choice by Sir Brinsley Ford, King’s Lynn, 1988; Suffolk Station 2000; Tempera Society, Leighton House, 2001; Chapple Gallery 2003. Several works bought by the Farringdon Trust. Two works in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. Married to painter Peter Greenham.
Clare Elwes p17
Clare Elwes. Born 1966.
BA (hons) Visual and Performing Arts, Brighton Polytechnic 1985-88.
Became mother to Robin, the inspiration for this poem, in 2004.
I find it hard to remember a time when I have not on some level been aware of and inspired by Blake’s work. My mother once told me that my primary school teacher overheard me saying to my friend that I wanted to grow up to be like Blake, to write poetry and paint. He speaks to whatever in me is essentially of this land, this country; of struggle, complexity and sorrow; and mystery, vision and quiet, astonishing beauty.
Helen Elwes p14
Happy Birthday, darling Blake. Like many others who have read and studied Blake over many years, I feel a personal affection for him, as for a treasured friend. He inspires love. His poetry and painting has deeply affected my life and work, as has his example of how to live a joyful, unmaterialistic life, lit by the fires of creativity and faith. Making my page for this book I painted him at dawn on his bed deep in conversation with a visiting angel. I drew his portrait from Catherine's posthumous pencil drawing of him as he visited her for two or three hours each day after his death, his hair 'aflame' with inspiration.
I have been celebrating his birthday annually on 28th November for the last 19 years as part of The William Blake Congregation – an informal, open and egalitarian group instigated by Simon Miles, a truly Blakean poet and dear friend – through whom I have met people who have changed and enriched the course of my life. Since his sudden death 2 years ago we continue and expand in celebration of his vision.
I studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, 1979-82 and then at the Royal Academy Schools, 1983-86, (where I was taught to paint in egg tempera by the visionary artist Jane Dowling.)
I am a full time artist and have exhibited widely. I recently illustrated 2 books on alchemy. In 2006 I took part in the exhibition 'Alchemy: The Art and Science of Transformation' at Peninsula Arts, University of Plymouth.
Co-compiler of the William Blake Birthday Book.
Teresa Elwes p1
Teresa Elwes trained as a letter designer and carver before working in forensic psychology and human rights. Blake has always been there.
Harry Eyres p57
Blake's Tyger, read aloud to me by mother when I was five or six, made an immediate and lasting impact. Much later I discovered Auguries of Innocence, that inspired and prophetic statement of our deep connectedness with nature and other creatures, that great protest-poem about cruelty. No-one writes more powerfully about cruelty, both man's inhumanity to man, and our lack of humanity towards all other creatures, than William Blake.
Inter Ference p38
Among many things Blake persists as a beacon for all those persisting in visionary works of all kinds which might, or do, profoundly enhance/ enrich/ save Life… irrespective of outside approval or renumeration... vocationalists, not careerists, who endure, Living ‘the vision’…
The poetics I come from, have grown in & work in are predominantly oral/ audio-visual/ whole body, not ‘literary’ - Blake is one who, with & without his visuals, has resonated with me strongly through the page…
Lara Fiedler p20
Lara Fiedler is a multi-media artist, teacher, dancer and psychotherapist in training. She has exhibited numerous times as a photographer, most recently as part of the Stroud Photofest. She has illustrated an international series of children's books and also collaborated with Jay Ramsay on a series of book covers (for PS Avalon, Glastonbury) and 'Culbone', a photographic essay about the smallest church in the UK. Lara is an accredited 5 Rhythms teacher with Gabrielle Roth and runs dance classes in Stroud.
As an artist, it is as if the imagination is a portal to another way of seeing. As a dancer, I am deeply inspired by movement and ways of portraying an energetic universe. This is evident in my latest figurative photographs - 'TranscendAnce' - which reveal the archetypal forms within cultural diversity. I am inspired to write poetry as an expression of the interface between the imagination and lived experience. For me, the visual realm truly seen is also essentially poetic.
Rose Flint p48
Rose Flint is a poet, writer, artist and art therapist. She works for the Kingfisher Project, taking poetry into the hospital and community of Salisbury, and into a wide variety of healthcare areas, including Burns, Spinal, Elderly care, mental health, Speech and Language Therapy and Palliative Care. She teaches Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at Bristol University and runs residences at both Arvon and Ty Newydd.
‘Poetry can contribute greatly to holistic health and well-being, especially to people who are isolated by trauma or illness; it helps us remember who we are, helps us to remember the spark of spirit that is our essential self, but may sometimes be dimmed by difficult experiences. Poetry is the song that carries our connection to the Soul of the World, reminds us that we are all connected into the living heart of the planet.’
Her poetry has won various awards – most recently the Petra Kenney International Poetry Competition - and can be found in many magazines and anthologies. She has three collections: Blue Horse of Morning (Seren), Firesigns (Poetry Salzburg) and Nekyia (Stride). Rose is a Priestess of Avalon, and Poet in Residence for the Glastonbury Goddess Conference.
‘William Blake is a shining light of hope for me; in the unique, difficult and beautiful work he brought us, is an immense courage. He had the strength to be a Visionary, in a world becoming more and more rational each day. He understood Mystery, knowing both the thinness of the Veils between the worlds and the awe of being fully alive beside the charm of a brook or a beetle.’
Olivier Garbay p8
My name is Olivier Garbay, an artist by duty and a poet by nature. I am French but I have been a Londoner for 14 years. I have been working in collaboration with Sarah Lucas for the past 3 years (‘God is Dad’ and the upcoming ‘The Mug’, our own dictionary inspired by Blake’s). I have written for other artists such as Don Brown, Fabian Verschaere and Jorgos Nikas as well as the particular “Stimulus”. An edition of my poems has been released in June 2oo7 during the biennale in Venice (‘The Cloud’). For particulars see ‘The red Snapper’ 22 Cecil Court London.
Veronique Giarrusso p59
‘When I look at William Blake's paintings I feel a deep empathy with his visionary world. He so intensely captures the essence of man - his universal and divine nature which lies beyond the hopes and despair of the soul.’
Veronique was born in Auxerre, France in 196o. In 1978 she came to live in England and lived in Scarborough, North Yorkshire for 4 years. In 1981 she moved to Bath, N.E. Somerset where she lived and worked up until 2oo1. She illustrated ‘The Blue Pearls’ children’s book for Barefoot Books in 2oo1.
She trained in art and printmaking at Bath Academy of Art 1983-87 and has had numerous group and solo exhibitions since. Veronique and her family moved to the village of Bessy sur Cure, Burgundy, France in 2oo1.
John Gibbens p2
William Blake is one of Britain's basic sources of renewable energy.
John Gibbens is a poet and songwriter. He published Intimations, the first of his illuminated Inkjet Books, in 2002.
Polly Gould p36
I work with drawing, sound, video and performance. My work is concerned with our relationships as speaking subjects exploring questions of voice, power and desire, and presented in a live form as performance lectures. The interplay between words and pictures, image and text is recurrent in my work. I like Blake for the oddity of his printing process, and enjoy my ambivalence about his oeuvre. I love books and I admire the self-publicist in Blake and aspire to the mode of artist-writer that he so exemplifies. My recent exhibitions include the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2oo7. In 2oo6 my short story was included in a collection of fiction by contemporary British artists titled The Alpine Fantasy of Victor B and other stories, published by Serpents Tail.
David Harrison p41
1954 born England, lives and works in London.
David Harrison is attracted to the day-to-day oddities that are often overlooked by most people. His paintings are populated by fantastical characters and wildlife placed in eerie, otherworldly settings. Taking traditional subjects of landscape and myth the artist creates magical tales that are relevant to our time and make strange our relationship to the natural world. Fairy tales have been an important influence in Harrison's work from Alice in Wonderland, The Master and Margarita and Gogol's short stories to British writers such as Cowper-Powis, Mervyn Peake and Henry Williamson. Harrison's works are created on surfaces ranging from rough wooden panels to larger canvases and vary from intimate, naturalistic studies to elaborate compositions - combining the fantastical with the real, the magical with the everyday.
‘My love of Blake started early from learning his poems at school. Being young and not fully understanding their meaning this made them all the more mysterious and fed a young romantic spirit. Then a few years later discovering his paintings and illustrations, the world of Blake beckoned me once again. I love the idea of the total artist, his words and his vision are as one and even more so when placed side by side.’
Liza Hayden p51
Liza Hayden is a poet, singer and actress who has worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, Jonathan Kay's Nomadic Academy and was in the original cast of Les Miserables.
Liza has amended her Penguin Classics edition of Blake to read: "The Complete Poems of William and Catherine Blake".
Justin Hedley p13
London based artist trained in fine art Cornwall and London.
Blake's prophesies are yet to be fulfilled: His visions reveal the archetypal journey within the world of the imagination, of which he is touchstone for the true.For me personally and out of creative necessity, this necessitates an internalised perception. He is the original ‘channeler’ before it became a fashionable throwaway. His kaleidoscopic view of the world and of the ‘human divine’ positioned between two worlds made whole and Holy into one reality rendering us as equal to the creator and the created. This reflects the ‘as above so below’ and vice-versa nature, in which the artist can be mediator.
Tim Heath p46
Blake never ceased to ask great questions - even in his calligraphy the full stop beneath the hook of the question mark can only be a comma.
Tim Heath is a writer & designer and Chairman of the Blake Society.
Michael Horovitz p6
Michael Horovitz is a jazz troubadour, singer-songwriter, visual artist, editor-publisher of New Departures, director-torchbearer of Live New Departures and Poetry Olympics Festivals. The most recent of his twenty or so illustrated anthologies in print are Midsummer Morning Jog Log, Wordsounds & Sightlines, and A New Waste Land: Timeship Earth at Nillennium (sic)– all available via New Departures, PO Box 9819, London W11 2GQ
In 2004 he founded the William Blake Klezmatrix band to provide sung and musical renditions of Blake’s lyrics and other texts.
Gemma Ireland p22
“For every thing that lives is Holy.“
Parul Jani p34
Parul trained at St Martins School of Art and has paintings in private collections around the world. She spent 7 years in India studying within the Vedanta Tradition and believes Blake shares many of the eternal values of the Vedas. Parul offers private classes in art and philosophy at the Institute of Imagination in the House of William Blake.
Patricia Jordan p9
Imagination unveils reality in its manifestation in poetry - word and image - Blake's work, an inspiration.
Central Saint Martins – BA Fine art Printmaking and Photo-media Royal College of Art – MA Illustration
Selected group shows:Falkiners Fine Paper; Berlin University of Arts; Folio Society; Big White Space – London; Dead Bird Show – London; Hans Christian Andersen Bicentenary – Arts Club Mayfair; Pop-up Book – Port Eliot Literary Festival
The image is inspired by The Book of Thel and the commentary explains the image. ‘Thel is most acutely conscious that time and decay haunt even the realm of pre-existence’ (commentary by Harold Bloom)
Linda Landers p33
My first contact with the work of William Blake was of course 'Jerusalem' one of my favourite hymns, which I always sang with great passion during school assemblies, as I pictured my bow of burning gold and the arrows of desire I had goose pimples running up and down my body. The beauty of childhood and promise and determination to create the sublime in the future seemed to be summed up in that song. I then discovered Blake in my teens, mainly through books, and interwove the meaning of Blake's words into the fabric of my own life, and they have stayed with me ever since.
My book ‘Woman on a Lion’ (A one-off book of twelve drawings created for exhibition at Blake's house) is held at Longleat House Library, and I have created many limited edition books based on the poems of William Blake.
Jeanette McCulloch p31
After studying at the Royal College of Art, Jeanette won an Rotary International Scholarship, where she was Artist in Residence in San Francisco University.
Recently she has been collaborating with writers and poets on a number of community projects. She employs different methods of production, from paint to textile mediums to printmaking. She exhibits her work regularly and some is held in private collections in both Europe and America.
When I look at the work of a visionary artist such as William Blake, I feel creation pour into the spiritual eye, as if reflecting the radiance of heaven.
Andrea McLean p4
William Blake is a light in my life. This year has been, for me, one of a broken heart, a long hospital stay, the climb out of mental breakdown felt like the hardest journey one could ever make. Still it has been a Blakean year. Anyone who has access to the painting and poetry of William Blake has access to Heaven.
Andrea McLean studied at Falmouth School of Art, The Slade School of Art and the British School at Rome. She was Artist in Residence at Gloucester Cathedral in 2001-2002. She shows at Art Space Gallery, London and lives and works in Ledbury, Herefordshire.
Niall McDevitt p39
William Blake is London’s technician of the sacred, first urban shaman of the first industrial city, and pioneer of psychogeography.
Niall McDevitt worked as actor/musician in Neil Oram’s 24-hour play THE WARP, Ken Campbells’s PIDGIN MACBETH and John Constable’s THE SOUTHWARK MYSTERIES.
He is poet-in-residence at Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith and leads Blake/Rimbaud/Yeats walks in London.
Kevan Manwaring p52
Blake was and is the foremost Bard of Albion. I’ve always enjoyed the interplay between text and image, and Blake is the greatest examplar of that. His visionary works and spirit continues to inspire us all. A true prophet.
Kevan Manwaring (MA Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing) Bath-based author, poet, storyteller and teacher of creative writing and bardic skills.
Jan Martin p56
My page is an intuitive response to Blake whereby the theme, composition and line all attempt to reflect the joy in the depth and richness of simple things that is characteristic of his philosophy; and to express some of the sense of burgeoning life that his poetry conveys.
I am an artist and illustrator, and work in both traditional and digital media, often mixing the two. Although I have always loved traditional printmaking, my work as an illustrator led me down digital paths. I took my MA in multi disciplinary printmaking at UWE in order to bring another dimension to my digital work, but I also wanted to return to some more basic crafts, and was able to build on my skills in various other techniques.
Barbara Mercer p40
I was born in Manchester then went to university in London – where of course the chartered streets were paved with gold and literature – to study English.
In the ‘80s I published two novels, Oxford Girls and The Lovers of David Christian, and in the ‘90s my short stories, Two Girls … One a Gazelle and The Wife’s Tale were broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Working in publishing as a designer and editor, I’ve often been perplexed by the people who regarded me as a sort of mongrel. And I like this mongrel identity. And it’s where I feel a particular bond with William Blake, for saying that the words and pictures come from the same place. As well as seeing the magical in the ordinary, and celebrating the ordinary in the grandiose. I hope I do.
I often go to the Botanic Gardens in Oxford to draw. It’s a place with many marvellous ghosts, where the plants call out to you and you follow their seasons like stories.
I salute you and thank you Mr Blake, you’re often with me there.
Stephen Micalef p15
I've been part of The William Blake Congregation for eighteen years and have organised Blake Birthday Celebrations at both the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain and arranged 'Blake Risings' at Bunhill Fields
I was editor of the first punk fanzine 'Sniffin' Glue'. I founded The Brixton Poets and ran it for ten years. I am a full time poet and have written 80 poems about Blake's life and mythology. Blake, Hendrix and the Sex Pistols are the guiding momentum of my life.
Co-instigator of the William Blake Birthday book.
John Michell p61
Author of twelve books, specialist in sacred geometry and the geometry of
John Michell, born 1933, was educated at Eton and Cambridge and published his first book in 1967.
With ‘The View over Atlantis’ (1969) and ‘City of Revelation’ (1972) Michell helped to change the world-views of a whole generation by illuminating the science, culture and wisdom of past civilizations.
Simon Miles (1956 – 2005) p23
Simon Miles was a poet and a writer.He grew up in Retford, Nottinghamshire and lived in Bath for nearly a decade until his death in 2005. He was active in initiating alternative approaches to mental-health issues, with an emphasis on creativity and healing, working both within the Health Service as a creative writing tutor and independently in support groups.
His last project was a visual-arts novel entitled ‘The Identity Parade’, planned to comprise 365 hand-made pages. It is the story of madness and depression and how these states may be transcended in a creative way. The novel comprised text, concrete-poetry and collages. It was intended to be performed and displayed, as well as read from the page.
Since beginning ‘The Identity Parade’, he became increasingly involved in ways that writing could be incorporated within the visual arts. In 1997 pages from the book were displayed in the ‘Re-cycle, Re-create’ exhibition at the Windows Arts Centre, Bath. Later that year he was commissioned to construct an installation for the Now ‘97 Festival in Nottingham. ‘Empire State Human’, was displayed at the Angel Row Gallery and took a period from the character Simon Pater-noster’s ‘urban-shaman’ period and expressed this in a three-dimensional, time-based form.
A lover of William Blake, he organised annual events to celebrate the poetry of this prophetic visionary poet. This became established as the annual William Blake Congregation at Tate Britain, held in the Blake Gallery, where poets read from Blake’s and their own work.
He passed away suddenly in 2005, and his passionate enthusiasm, humour and joie de vivre is missed by all who knew him.
Adrian Mitchell p5
If there were such a role as ghost writer to the nation's conscience, then Adrian Mitchell would be a prime contender to fill it. He has had a prolific career as a playwright for theatre and television, as a poet, novelist, and literary revolutionary.
‘The Shadow Knows’, Bloodaxe Books
Helen Moore p29
Helen Moore is an eco-poet/environmental artist-writer based in North Somerset. She publishes poetry and prose in a variety of anthologies and magazines, including leading publications in the field of ecological and spiritual thinking, such as Resurgence Magazine and Green Spirit. Helen also regularly performs her poetry at environmental conferences and community events around the UK, and has shared platforms with modern visionaries such as Joanna Macy, Mathew Fox, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Berry and Satish Kumar.
In a culture in which Spirit and social and ecological justice are barely represented in mainstream arts, I have found William Blake’s work to be a great solace and inspiration. He has given me the courage to attempt to communicate Truth at a time when the reductive scientific approach, information over-load and moral relativism hold sway. Blake has also guided me in taking the means of production into my own hands… whenever I hand-stitch my poetry pamphlets – often in the evening, sitting by the fire – I sense both him and his wife perching on the wing-stubs at the top of my back; they whisper in my ears, egg me on.
Chris Orr p25
Chris Orr, artist printmaker was born in 1943 and created ‘The Life of W.Blake’ , a suite of etchings and monoprints in 1992 which was first shown at the House of William Blake in London. He is Professor of Printmaking at the Royal College of Art and was elected a Royal Academician in 1995. Blake’s printmaking has been a major source of inspiration for Chris. His ‘Poetry through Mechanics’ idea has been the theme of teaching and publishing at the Royal College of Art Printmaking Department.
Besides Blake, Chris’ subjects include Albrecht Durer, John Ruskin and Kurt Schwitters as well as works on the fate and destiny of cities.
‘Good Morning Herr Blake, Guttenmorgan Mister Schwitters’ is an imaginary encounter between the two visionaries.
Robert W. Palmer p45
Robert W. Palmer was born in Bristol in 1946. After an education (which gave him plenty to think about but was more like a menu of questions than a solution) and a period ‘on the road’ he settled in Bath, working as a gardener, then on the fringes of the printing trade and finally in Desk Top Publishing, designing poetry books for etruscan books and helping self-publishing novelists. He has been writing poetry on and off since 1965, performing when asked in the West Country but has yet to publish a selection.
He came across William Blake while still at school. As someone who didn't want to be religious but didn't want to be an atheist either Blake's critique of religion as a failed myth seemed an ideal middle position – be your own prophet, but accept that everyone else out there is a prophet as well, the more the merrier. Indeed, encourage the gift of prophecy in others!
‘Jeder Mann Sein Eigner Fuszball.’
Stan Peskett p47
This piece is about my return to London in 1989 from New York, where I had been living since 1974. I had seen many of my closest friends die of AIDS and drugs in NYC and California. Serendipitously, back in England my life took a sharp turn when I moved into a flat located within a stone’s throw of Peckham Rye Park where Blake had his Vision of Angels as a child. There, I was inspired to create a public work of art, with that vision as its theme.
Tom Phillips RA p32
William Blake's work has long provided the door to my perception of the possibilities of uniting image and text.
Tom Phillips was born in 1937 in South London where he still lives and works. As an internationally established artist and prominent Royal Academician he is represented in museum collections worldwide. He is best known for his pioneering artist's book A Humument and his work on Dante's Inferno which he translated and illustrated (as co-director of the TV version he won the Italia Prize). Major retrospectives of his paintings have been held on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2006 he was the Slade Professor of Art History at the University of Oxford.
Peter Alfred Please p54
I am a writer and independent publisher in the process of reinventing myself as a book maker. I have published ten books, fiction to garden therapeutic manuals, a Holine quartet of intimate travel books, life on the margin, the cultural hinterland if you like. I am currently exploring ways of making books by mixing traditional techniques with digital technology. I want to create accessible and talismanic books exploring an aesthetic of change in our changing world. My interest in Blake is linked to our family history: the Pleases lived in the parts of London where Blake lived, and at the same time. I can't see their faces, only Blake's. For me he
illuminates the soul of a great city, my personal past, and carries the small light of the artist into the world. Into the future.
Paul Podworski p30
‘But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza’
In 1988 I came to celebrate William Blake's birthday, turning down an interview at Lloyds of London. I encountered a circle of friends and ideas which were to be life changing. Reading Blake’s poems I realize how visually inspiring they are. Artist and poet, his words create imaginary worlds, his poems are visions.
I was inspired by the birth of our son Felix to write this poem in the spirit of The Songs Of Innocence.
My great grandfather was Henryk Zbierchowski, the poet laureate of Lwow. I neglect my own poetry, but have concentrated in recent years on learning the practical skills of gardening, training at Chelsea Physic Garden and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
Sally Pucill p16
I first met Blake as a child. My mother quoted ‘a world in a grain of sand’ to me when I was at that age when the world is so naturally full of magic and joyous beauty. Growing up in a small foreign country, I had a Blakeian adolescence of being bestowed with the outsider’s gift of observance, sustaining my soul on visions, creative expression and the unrelenting glory of nature. Years later, by what could only seem like the bountiful law of attraction, I lived in a Victorian house overlooking the very London park that Blake experienced his vision of ‘angels in the trees’. Indeed I spent many a dawn gazing at the descendants of those trees, with the first golden rays of the day hallowing the great majestic planes with bursting flames of divine radiance.
I completed an MA in the study of Sacred Arts at Vita, the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, specializing in Indian miniature painting and Islamic ceramic art (2002). BA in Sculpture and Ceramics at Camberwell College of Art (1998).
Jay Ramsay p20
Jay Ramsay is the author, co-author & editor of over 3o books of poetry and non-fiction, most recently Crucible of Love - the alchemy of passionate relationships (O Books, 2005), The Heart's Ragged Evangelist - love poems for the greater love (PS Avalon, 2005) and Into the Further Reaches - 64 poets on the spiritual journey (PS Avalon, 2007). He is also a psychospiritual psychotherapist & healer in private practice in Stroud & London.
I have always believed - as I argued in my first book Psychic Poetry – a manifesto (The Diamond Press, 1985) - that poetry should open another eye for us, and that, like Blake, the imagination is a bridge to spiritual intelligence where we may also find that the psyche is a genius in all of us. His visionary quality challenges all of us to return the innocence of our own divinely created being - and to its higher moral sophistication beyond the reductive ‘pseudo-morality’ of our rational and concrete minds. That journey belongs fundamentally to a poetry of spiritual values and it has also been mine, with all the necessary experience provided !
Jude Rawlins p42
William Blake: In His footsteps we find our own voices. He lifts up our hearts, liberates our imaginations, frees us from any desire to be judged by any standards other than our own. In Blake, we are all great, we are all worthy. He teaches us to think, to feel and to fight. We bring our cerebral violence to bear upon the enemies of promise, the hirelings as He called them. And, in words and actions and pictures and music, in all our deeds, we create Art for the living, because we understand that poetry cannot deceive, a painting asks nothing of us except that we look at it with our hearts open, and so forth. All of the goodness in the world is expressed through Art, and that expression is our only abiding moral code. Mental Fight is the only antidote to Mental Slavery. There is no enemy that we cannot defeat in words.
Jude Rawlins is a writer, artist and rock singer whose fascination with William Blake began when, as an eleven year old choirboy, required to sing the hymn ‘Jerusalem”, he noticed immediately that the lyric apparently broke all the conventions of the traditional hymnals. He saw in the words not religion, but an entire philosophy of art. In his most recent work with his band Subterraneans, his literary influences have once again come to the fore, none more so than Blake. Jude Rawlins lives in Camden Town, north London. He is a member of the Charleston Trust, and artistic director of Blake 250, a series of London events celebrating the 250th anniversary of William Blake’s birth.
Jane Roberts p1
Trained at Falmouth and Chelsea Schools of Art.
Artist Residencies at Space Frame Gallery, Gillingham and Hackney Hospital, London.
Exhibitions including Whitechapel Art Gallery, Royal College of Art, Morley Gallery.
Winner of Hunting Art Prize for drawing in 2000.
As a small child I was allowed, on Sunday afternoons, to look at my mother’s precious art books. The volume on William Blake was a special favourite. The reproductions were in black and white and emphasised the linear qualities of his work. This early exposure to Blake and the expressive power of drawing has remained with me and is central to my work.
Martin Sexton p11
I have a particular fear of influence - it comes from my writing - I am always mindful of this and much of this has to do with the fact that so much of contemporary writing fills me with inertia. I have far less of a problem with contemporary art which is far more representative of our current condition. I have the strong feeling that the books I want to read do not yet exist, so somehow I have to write them in order to read them. The ‘art’ that I create is an element of this writing - sometimes they take the forms of poems or invocations or plays. Plays that have their own human drama - with players that are not always necessarily conscious of their part. Are they looking at ‘art’ – ice sculptures in Golden Square for instance - or is this a set? - the props of a play to which they not only witness but in doing so - somehow enact. I do find William Blake inspiring but maybe not in the conventional sense - I have this affinity with this feeling that resonates for me in Blake's work and which I would express as: Imagination should have no embarrassment - if one is a holy fool then so be it.
Martin Sexton is known as a genuinely controversial artist whose work continues to divide opinion, absorbing, challenging and transforming the world around him; he is at odds with the current precept that it is impossible to produce anything original or authentic. He constantly refers to his work as ‘writing’ and objects created to be ‘sculptural poems’. Everything he produces is heavy with myth and inherent narrative.
Madeleine Shaw p44
Me and Blake: He has always been there, in the background of my life; poetry and images, so lovely and love affirming. Over the years I have become more and more amazed by this artist who illuminated his poems and set them to music, and hearing stories of his life... For me a rare example of a being who walked in the ‘wholeness of his soul’ as much as any artist could hope.
Madeleine North was born (23.10.63) and raised in London to a Scottish father and painter mother who spent every holiday in the Scottish West Highlands where Madeleine still holidays, loving the wildness and pure energy, clear colours and unspoiled landscapes.
Madeleine went to the City and Guilds of London Art School run by Roger de Grey in the early 80's and studied Fine Art. Upon leaving she spent three years in Australia working, traveling and drawing; and finally back in Sydney the last six months was dedicated to the curation of her vision to hold a huge multi-media art exhibition for women artists exploring the theme of the female side of deity. It was called Unearthing The Goddess.
Returning to England she trained as an Alexander Teacher in the holistic Fellside school in the Lake District where she continued painting and creative writing.
She now lives in Bath with her two children Jason aged six and Rosa aged four.
Madeleine paints under her maiden name of Shaw.
Hannah Swain p26
Why I love Blake: since aged about 10, when I first saw his work in The Tate Gallery’s permanent collection, I have been drawn over and over to gaze in awe, every time my feelings are held spellbound. Beautifully otherworldly images, esoterical and unpretentious. Beautiful soul a unique quality of turning stories in to painting. Angels, everyday people and God. Animals. Trees compassionately executed and and…
Gwen Turner p50
Gwen Turner has worked as a theatre designer for ten years and also teaches art in colleges and as part of an organisation called 'Creative partnerships' who send artists into mainstream schools around the country. She is now studying her M.A. in illustration, part time at Camberwell School of Art and is in the process of making her own graphic novel.
I would not say that I was a true Blakean but I have always been drawn to his work through a feeling that I care about the same in life now that I feel he did and so resonantly expressed through his work then. He was concerned about Western materialism and sought to reverse it, at a time when a scientific revolution assumed authority. He challenged the cultural heroes of Materialist thought. I now wonder what he may think about the Industrial Revolution and now a technological one, and perhaps because of this - a possible climate crisis. He possessed, and still does - as it lives on in his work - innate vision, which he believed we all have, its just a case of finding it, or letting it out.
‘The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others, only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions, and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of a man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. As a man is, so he sees.” (To Dr Truster, 23rd Aug 1799 from ‘Poems & Prophecies’ by William Blake).
Christopher Twigg p35
Christopher Twigg was born in Bromsgrove in 1958, the son of a Priest. He has published five Poetry Books: Nature Poetry (1992), Adventures in the West (1994), In the Choir (1997), A Cherub that sees them (2003) and The English Book (2005). He plays guitar and harmonica for the alternative country band Chicken of the Woods.
‘I first cried at a Poetry Reading when I heard Allen Ginsberg singing the Nurse's Song from Songs of Innocence in the Cambridge Corn Exchange in 1979.’
Clare Tyler p3
In all he does Blake speaks directly to my heart. I first discovered him in my early teens, when I wandered into those dark, womb-like rooms at the Tate. His radiance shone out like the light from the moon, stars and sun together.
Inspired by him and Samuel Palmer, I have sought to explore earthly heaven in my own work. As a mother, he has taught me to revere the innocence and bright beauty of childhood and the need to protect it from becoming dulled by the confines of our conventional world.
Clare Tyler has been living and working on Dartmoor for over twenty years. She came to Devon to do a Fine Arts Degree at Exeter College of Art and Design and became so entranced with the wild landscape that she stayed. She mainly exhibits locally. She is a mother of three children and home educates her teenage daughter.
Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly p43
Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly is attempting to spit William Blake's corpse out of his mouth bit by tiny bit.
Roger Wagner p18
Born in 1957, Roger Wagner read English at Oxford University before studying under Peter Greenham at the Royal Academy School of Art. He has been represented in London since 1985 by Anthony Mould Ltd, exhibiting there in 1985, 1988, 1995, 1999, 2ooo and 2004. Other one man shows include a retrospective at the Ashmolean Museum in 1994, a touring exhibition of illustrations of the Book of Job in six cathedrals from 1995 to 1998 and a retrospective at The Prince’s Foundation in 2oo1. Group exhibitions include New Icons at Warwick University (1989-90), Images of Christ at the Albermarle Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral (1991, 1993), The NatWest collection at the Royal Academy (1994, 1995), Landscape and Imagination at the Prince of Wales School of Architecture (1999), The Light of the World at the Edinburgh City Art Gallery (1999-2ooo) Europe Art et Passages, in Paris (1999), The Salutation Oxford (2000), Blake’s Heaven at Scolar Fine Art (2000), The Discerning Eye at the Mall Gallery (2002), Roads to Damascus (2002) at the Brewhouse Gallery Eton , Presence (2004) St Pauls’s Cathedral, Colloquy (2004) Loughborough University and Seeing Salvation Now at the North Light Gallery (2004). He has work in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, and in many private collections in England, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia and America. He has produced several books of illustrated poems and translations: Fire Sonnets (1984), In a Strange Land (1988), The Book of Praises – a translation of the psalms (1994), A Silent Voice (1997), Out of the Whirlwind (1997).
Blake's illustrated books have always been a source of inspiration. The wood engravings in the book and exhibition, come from an illustrated translation of the psalms and are both directly based on Blake's images.
Piers Wardle p24
Piers Wardle is an artist who lives and works in London
James Wilkes p12
I was born in Dorset in 1980, and studied psychology and philosophy, followed by an MA in creative writing. My poetry has been published in several magazines and in the anthology Generation Txt, and I have read my work at venues around the UK and Europe, as well as on BBC Radio 4 and Resonance FM. I have exhibited poem-objects and hand-printed postcard poems, and contribute essays and reviews on contemporary art and poetry to a number of journals.
Having self-published two chapbooks and experimented with printing techniques and visual poetry, I find Blake’s integration of words and visual art a compelling example to follow. For me, Blake’s illuminated poems connect to a tradition of energised speech – one that I greatly admire and work towards.
Robin Williamson p27
When I was a boy I wanted to write spontaneously like Jack Kerouac. In seeking his roots I found myself reading William Blake. Blake’s inspired voice led me directly to the bardic heritage of Britain. His journey opened a door to my own journey, to my encounter with Albion and to my search for, and sense of, the Sacred.
My wife Bina and I perform an ongoing series of seasonal concerts, traditional and our own original pieces in celebration of life. We performed at Canterbury Festival a concert in tribute to William and Catherine Blake and our work is very much in the spirit of Blake. Their courage and vision is an inspiration to both Bina and myself.
Founder in the 1960s of the Incredible String Band, in the 1970 of the Merry Band. Robin during the 1980s was at the forefront of the storytelling revival in Britain & America. He re-developed the ‘bardic’ style of story & verse with improvised harp accompaniment. Author, painter, and multi instrumentalist he has many recordings, most recently he has 3 CDs on ECM, the second of which ‘Skirting the River Road’ features some settings of William Blake. Robin is honorary chief bard of the order of Bards Ovates & Druids. He continues to tour solo and as a duo with his wife, singer Bina Williamson.
Bina Williamson p60
British-East African-Asian, Bina Williamson has been touring and recording since the 1990s – not only as a duo with Robin Williamson, but also with the ‘Just like the Ivy Band’ and ‘The Incredible String Band’. A writer, multi-instrumentalist and singer, Bina has a unique voice of resonance and warmth. Robin and Bina together perform seasonal concerts of original and traditional pieces with a mystical or spiritual slant, featuring the East-West blend of their voices. Their performances have been described as ‘music from the Indo-Celtic delta’.
Partou Zia p21
For me Blake represents a rare poetic vision that is unashamedly spiritual in tone and intention. The words and images of Blake make elastic our notion of the imagination; creating a universe that is authorized by the individual's vision of Love. William Blake's heritage is to permit a glimpse into the unseen, and the untrodden path of the Self - a metaphysical reality that is psychologically timeless.
Ruskin Watts supplement p22
Blake was the first to introduce me to the tradition that keeps recurring throughout the annals, the one that maintains: what is worshipped is often an imposter. He was certainly model to me and many uncompromising poets for making one’s own little books of explosive poems and opinions. His songs – not of rage as indignation only, but the reasoning and erotic faculties too – illuminate a madly animate nature. Grecian heathenism, though, and Jewish literalism calmly remain closer to me than any apocalyptic.
Born 1962, Ruskin has undertaken studies in English, philosophy, ancient history and early music. Full-time poet since 1987, with a few volumes available. Lives with his partner and daughter in Germany, in a half-completed half-timbered structure between a lot of lime and clay and copper and iron.
|William Blake Birthday Book soft cover -UK|
|William Blake Birthday Book hard cover - UK|
|William Blake Birthday Book, soft cover, shipped to USA, payment in dollars|
|William Blake Birthday Book, hard cover, shipped to USA, payment in dollars|
|William Blake Birthday Book soft cover -Europe|
|William Blake Birthday Book hard cover -Europe|