Thursday, 26 March 2015

A fond farewell

A great big thank you to all my friends and supporters who have made poetry and pictures at the museum such a great project for me. Thank you for this lovely gift and card combined with a stunning print by William Blake.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. It is not over, though. You can still take part here:

It is just that I shall not be running it any more and it is changing shape.

Now it is called ekphrasispoetry

The next readings are in April. Check the Ashmolean What's On.

I would like to share the work of Diana Moore on the weblog. She has put together an amazing collection of snippets of poems and their pictures taken from different times, places and performances from a whole range of writers including herself. The collage is all stuck onto the different faces of a large cardboard box, both inside and out, so you can visit another facet of the history of the project with every change of angle. There is even a floor plan on the floor of the box. Click on the pictures to take a closer look.

And so it comes to an end. It would be great to receive comments on the weblog here.

I shall be starting a new weblog, probably called "In the footsteps of Blake."

Maybe one day I will reopen this blog. But for now it is adios, so long and thanks for all the poem fish.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

In the footsteps of Blake: An introduction to poetry and pictures, with special reference to William Blake.

Some notes from a presentation given at the Ashmolean on March 28th 2015

I hope to do an audio presentation to go with these slides in due course. 

It was a delight to be offered the chance to deliver this presentation as a special event at the Ashmolean Museum as part of The Blake Festival in Oxford . That is Michael Phillips, the curatorof the exhibition in the picture above, making a Blake print. 

I am flattered to be pictured as Blake's hero figure "Los".  I hope this set of notes will not be too much of a howl. (The picture is called "Los howled".

First I would like to thank the Ashmolean for allowing me to lead a group of talented poets for the last four years in sharing poems written about objects in the museum. I must also thank the committee of the exhibition on William Blake that has just finished for allowing me to make a special presentation on the theme of poetry and pictures. 

It has been a great pleasure and also a privilege to share my own and other people's poetical works both in the galleries and the special exhibitions to the visiting public. 

I would also like to thank Jude Barrett, from the Ashmolean Education Department for managing the whole process.  

Some may be wondering why I am being offered this opportunity since I am not an academic and have no credentials as an art historian. 

I am a poet and digital artist who specializes in writing poetry with a close connection with photographs and works of art. I have two books of illustrated poems published 

"Telling It Like It Is," modern fairy tales in verse, printed by Transitions publications and available in the Amazon Market Place


"A Journey Through Grief, in prose poetry and pictures," published by Chipmunka, available through the Chipmunka website.

This self portrait was printed in an international art magazine.

Entitled "Self portrait with head in flames," it blends original photographic images with digital art work.

I hope you do not find this presentation too hot-headed.

If I have any authority in talking to you about the visionary poetry and pictures of William Blake it is based on my previous incarnation as a director of the Oxford School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, based here in the city.

My main professional perspective is that of a Jungian Analyst. 

Though at one point I have been guest of honour at the British psychological Society

today I am here primarily as a poet. On occasion I have put together my psychological insights with explorations of famous poets such as Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

I was asked to speak at the Plath 75 here in Oxford.My paper can be found on line in volume 7 of Plath profiles, an on-lie journal about Plath's life and work.

My paper is called:


This presentation is concerned with the juxtaposition of poetry and pictures. I believe all of us today who create art which puts puts visual and poetic art together owes a great debt to William Blake.

Before we begin to explore Blake's work I hope you will allow me to share an example of my own work, which echoes Blake's connection with his dead brother.

The figure in this poem-picture is my dead wife Gill.

Beyond the world and death
We find redeeming beauty
Through the eyes of love

From "A Journey Through Grief"

 A little historical background:

“Poetry and Pictures”

A Twenty First Century Participation Art

A manifesto. 

From the earliest days of printing, a world of visual images with associated thought and feeling, juxtaposed with text has been part of the western way of enculturation, to help in the process of translating meaningless ciphers, squiggles on a page, into the stuff of inner experience, into understood written words, leaping from the page or screen into constructs of a mental world.

I will never forget the moment when words and images entwined and danced for me as I began to understand written text for the first time. It was like the moment when stumbling and sinking transform into skiing and swimming as learning transforms to achieving.

The earlest mixture of words and images goes back to the Egyptians. It was not until the decoding of the Rosettta Stone that it was understood that the script was not just about picture words. They were also using images for sounds. The texts are a complex mixture of sound and image.

The real father of modern Poetry and Pictures as a genre has to be William Blake, a visual artist and print maker by trade, and one of the greatest poets in the English language.

More recently, the poet laureate, Ted Hughes, set the ball rolling for modern artists with his book, “The Remains of Elmet”. He wrote poems specifically for a photographer’s art works here. In a second book, “River”, he juxtaposed poetry with an artist’s photographs without connecting them more intimately.

Hughes only wrote the poetry. He collaborated with others to create these poem-picture works. We are encouraging such collaborative work, and are open to both photographers and poets, but we are mostly focused on creating a combined work made by one author.

“Poetry and Pictures” is, I believe, the first attempt to establish the two arts together as a genre for the twenty first century. 

Photography has sometimes struggled to establish its credentials as an Art form in its own right. Poetry in turn, has struggled to make a case that it is still culturally relevant to this fast changing world.

Much modern writing is as uninspiring as a snapshot from a cheap digital camera. I believe that combining ideas expressed visually with ideas expressed in words can make for a powerful medium of expression, both folk art and high art.

The idea is to link a poem with a picture or series of pictures. The two can also blend together into a single visual image, which is both poetry and photography.

I am not sure how many variations on the overall theme will emerge. Already there are versions I had not dreamed about. I find the merging of words into visual art in graphic artistry a particularly inspiring form.

Poetry condenses experience. A photographer or graphic artist can do the same with a visual image.

As a psychologist I am aware of how both photography and poetry can make our experiences more vivid and memorable. Combining the two can be profoundly therapeutic as well.


In 2002 I founded “Wychwood Poets”, a group of writers and photographers based in the North Cotswolds area with members in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. The group met to read and discuss poetry and pictures on the first Tuesday of every month at my home. 

This art form called “Poetry and Pictures” combines a poem with a photograph, graphic image, painting or group of photographs. 

 “Poetry and Pictures” became an international web based activity in 2006 housed on the Flickr platform. This group grew rapidly and now has over 600 members. Thousands of poem pictures are displayed online there. It has expanded into a wide range of forms, many of which combine written poetry with graphic imagery. See

Walking in Wychwood.

At Christmas time 2006 I started leading guided walks in the Wychwood Forest area, where I coached people in taking photographs and writing poetry about the natural world. This picks up on the recent observations made by the BBC among other organisations, that going walking in nature could be a better remedy than prescription drugs for the very high numbers of people suffering from depression in the U.K.  The idea, in simple terms, is to involve people within reach of the ancient forest of Wychwood in exploring the rural landscape, and recording their impressions in poetry and pictures. Participants are encouraged to share their work on-line. There is a web log which records events, activity, poetry and pictures associated with the walks.

Poetry and Pictures England

I would love to see P&P activity all over the country, but have focused in my local area initially. Eventually there could be local P&P groups just as there are golf clubs and bridge clubs. There is now a growing “Poetry and Pictures England” group on flickr, which is curated by Tina Negus and I. 

Poem-picture groups are at the initial stage in Oxford, Wantage and Witney.

Other activities include:

1) School lectures, workshops and field trips

The model for this has been tested on St Mary’s Primary School Chipping Norton, where groups of Year 6 students enrolled in a three stage programme, concluding with a display of finished work to parents, staff and fellow students.

Everyone involved felt pleased with this experience. 

2) Holidaymaker expeditions. 

Nothing planned as yet.

3) Performances in Theatres, Libraries, Museums, Colleges and Universities.

There has been a lunch-time performance at the Theatre Chipping Norton. Performances have now happened at Festivals in Abingdon, Cheltenham, Malvern, Chipping Norton, Droitwich, Oxford, and Wantage, including Oxford University and the Oxford Fringe Festival. 

4) Arts Festival Events. 

International Poetry and Pictures was launched in the real world at the Wychwood Festival 2007 in June. Artists from all over the country as well as Germany, Italy, the U.S.A. and Canada had their work presented along with artists from the local area.
6) Gallery Exhibitions

There have been exhibitions at the Theatre Chipping Norton and the Crown and Cushion Hotel Chipping Norton, the Rose and Crown Pub in Charlbury and Witney Arts Centre. There have also been exhibitions at the Said Business School and in the County Hall, Oxford.

7) A major multi-dimensional arts project based in the Wychwood landscape itself.

This is some way off. It will require a partnership with many organisations before it can come to fruition.

8) A mental health project using poetry and pictures as creative therapy.

I worked with clients of Mind in West Oxfordshire to do P&P work.
Work is now complete at the Mind Project and a gallery of participant’s work is visible online by group members.

10) A terrestrial journal or yearbook

I hope to publish a book of poetry and pictures based on the work at the Ashmolean Museum.

11) Courses in P&P

Courses have now been run with the Animation Station in Banbury and in Woodstock and Chipping Norton. There have now been a number of courses at the Ashmolean in Oxford. This presentation has given rise to more demands for courses, which I shall pick up on soon.

12) Video Poetry

Some of us are beginning to explore spoken poetry alongside a series of video images.

13) BBC Bitesize     English exam revision

Anyone teaching or taking GCSE English will now be familiar with images being run alongside poetry. The BBC has made this a major feature of its revision format. 

 Poetry and Pictures On-line

“Poetry and Pictures England”  hosted on flickr,  is curated by Tina Negus and Nick Owen. 

Tina Negus is a multi-prize winner poet and artist who curates the group with me. she has contributed a number of poems to the programme.

Dr Giles Watson is a poet, photographer, artist and teacher, who has contributed more than anyone else to the programme.

Mike Laycock: Panther is Mike's reworking of Blake's Tiger.

Jingna Zhang has been poem-picture artist of the year

 Poetry and Pictures at the museum

                              First of all:  The V & A 

This was my first experience of poetry and pictures at a museum.

It was based on a real-world book of the work of ten poets who had chosen
 to write a poem about an object at the V and A . I was very excited to see an evening of performances of these works, together with an invitation to take pictures of objects in the museum, You could have your poem-pictures printed and then published on a special website.

It was wonderfully exciting and ambitious, but it was rather chaotic and disorganized in the delivery.
I thought maybe The Ashmolean could do it less ambitiously, but perhaps better, so I sent my manifesto to the director.

He passed it on to the Department for  Public Engagement, which interviewed me before sending me on to Jude Barrett in the Education Department. 

The whole process took several months.

 Gallery Readings

Once a month for ten months in every year we produced a set of poems performed in the galleries of the Ashmolean for the general public and for free. For details see back issues of the web log here.

But there were also exhibitions to write for. entry to these was not free, but the poetry readings were still free to those who could pay to enter.

We were very fortunate to begin and end with a poem picture artist. 

The first readings we did were for the  Edward Lear exhibition.

I chose a painting. Jerusalem, which is in the permanent collection on show in the museum.

I have photographed and edited the image adding a fragment of my poem to an area of the sky in the landscape.

Jerusalem           A poem by Nick Owen             2012

We look over his shoulder                                             
At Shepherds standing by,  
Unmindful of the city.
An open sky is heaven enough for them.
But shining on the other hill
The artist shows so clear
The place they call Jerusalem
So far and yet so near.

A valley lies below us, bare and dark.
For me this has to be the shadow of death,
A place of desolation, fearful, stark,
Where all too many soldiers took their final breath.
Armies of the past, and of the future too;
We do not see them now upon the ground
And yet I think I hear their dreadful sound.

Over his shoulder we see some goats or sheep
In pastures almost green,
A peaceful, restful, pastoral scene;
Even the rocks are bright and clean.
He might have drawn on William Blake.
These could be northern English hills;
An English man’s Jerusalem to make,
Not covered in satanic mills.

Out of nowhere, a God without a face
Compels the souls of men to make for this.
It whispers to the world, “This is the place
Which, more than any other, is the source of bliss,
More powerful, more wonderful than any lover’s kiss.
For, if there is redemption, it is here.
Come all ye, and enter without fear”.

Our fathers went on pilgrimage to reach this holy city,
A pure white shining citadel beyond decay.
In hope to reach eternity, they made their way,
With prayers in many tongues, and oaths to say.
Some came in peace, some came in holy war
They shared a sacred dream,
Some thing, for them, worth fighting for.

Thousands fought and thousands died
And thousands more will fight and die
To hold this land.  Many have tried
To find a way of peace, but many lie
And will lie again. I ask you why?
When you believe that God is on your side
You do not count the dead, or lose your pride.

We look over his shoulder
For a dream that we hope to come real
A place of love and beauty, peaceful games,
A place with magnetism, a serene appeal,
Where conflicts end in happy resolution.
But all these hopes are turned to desperation,
The darkness spreading higher on the hill,
As war threatens death to every nation.

Christian, Moslem, Arab, Jew,
The jealous God that was just for you
Can change his mind, adding new revelation.
Acceptance might transform your indignation.
Please set aside the gun and bomb,
Or I fear the end of days will come,
Jerusalem itself will be no more.

The breathless child Lear left behind
Escaping into nonsense or fine birds
And pastoral landscapes of this remarkable kind,
Where life becomes more real, less absurd,
And men sit silently, no words
Upon their lips. Perhaps his promises had all been kept
Or maybe he has stood here, painting while he wept

This presentation can only offer a brief introduction to the process of poem-picture making.
Going through this web log from beginning to end will offer much more insight into it, at least in terms of writing poetry around museum objects.

I have chosen to focus here on Blake as most important in this respect. Yet I do need to make a few other references first. If we started with the ridiculous world of Edward Lear's Limericks and finish with the sublime artistry of Blake, somewhere in between we have the wit and wisdom of  Xu Bing



I wrote: I went to his exhibition to see how he combines poetry with visual art. The exhibition is called “Landscape Landscript”. One of my greatest loves is poetry connecting with landscape.

It is radical indeed to look at poem-pictures through the lens of a character like Xu Bing. He is a trickster, half comic, half ironic, turning art and nature upside down and coming up with challenges to our concepts, both east and west. He is a global character. He offers us “Good Poetry” (see below), on a fridge magnet to take away from his exhibition. It does not feature on the gallery wall, however; nor does “Good Painting,” his other fridge magnet. I am inclined to believe he has created English Chinese characters especially for the exhibition.

Good poetry in landscape

Using script in landscape Chinese stayle
with an Italian landscape

Script Xu Bing
Photograph  Nick Owen

The Good Poetry Fridge Magnet

Black and white in text and image
from an Oxfordshire landscape

Text Xu Bing
Image Nick Owen

Xu Bing was not a great success in Oxford. I think he would have been, however, had there been works like this one from another of his exhibitions here. A lake of words pouring down a plug hole to the floor of a gallery would surely have brought in the crowds.

Bare with me a little longer. I know you are eager to explore Blake. Just another couple of museum observations.

Here I took my own photograph of a Rubens image. I then wrote the poem for it and stitched the words together in the manner you can observe in an earlier post on the web log. The link shows a colour image. Here I show it in black and white.

Modern equipment makes it easy to collect a passable image from many if not all works in museum galleries. The use of reflective glass instead or the more expensive non reflective variety in the Ashmolean can make for a frustrating experience for both viewer and photographer.

It is possible to work on a digital image in an editing tool such as photoshop to discover things in an image you do not see properly directly, however.

In the image below I was able to bring out details of the Magdalen figure not at all clear from viewing the original.

 It is beyond my skill to tell how much of this image has decayed with time. I enjoy re-creating the image in ways that please my own desires.

 You can see the effects of reflections in the gallery interfering with the quality of the image here. You can purchase a photo from the museum in many cases if you want something cleaner.

I have enhanced this to my taste, not having the possibility of gaining an adequate closeness to the original.

You can also take an image and blend it with your own ideas, expressed through poetry.

Sacrilege to some, creativity to others.

You can even take an image from a gallery and turn it into a whole book of poetry for performance as my colleague Diana Moore has done with the famous "Visitor to the forest".


So at last we come to William Blake

 Blake had to teach himself to write backwards in order for his works to print the right way round.  But here we see the letters transcend their fontine nature and blend into the image world.

It is claimed by some that Blake wrote the words first and then fitted the images around them. I am sure that this is true at times. However, Blake is full of ideas and ways of working. He does not stay with any single modus operandi.

What is so wonderful to see in Blake is the way the word and image flow together into something that is a work of art in itself.

This is why it has been so appropriate to begin my work at the museum with Lear and end it with the mastery of William Blake.

How sad it is that he could only afford very small copper plates to etch his work on.

How sad that he could only make such a small number of images at a time.

I looked forward to the Blake exhibition for three whole years. But when it was finally unveiled to the world it was:

A real curate’s egg
It's a fascinating but erratic and frustrating show, 

on the one hand "a fanatical survey of Blake's graphic techniques", 

“On the other hand, a second narrative wants to find the Blake we know and love among all the documents and data – Blake the left-field genius, the religious and political revolutionary, the radical visionary and poet whose aphorisms are emblazoned on the walls.

 It might seem that these ideals don’t have to be incompatible, and there are moments when they come together at the Ashmolean, at least in the form of wall texts. But in general this is a mismatch of what seem to be two disparate shows.” says Laura Cumming in The Observer.

Blake's extraordinary visions should be free to fly, but here, alas, didacticism draws them closer to earth."

Colin Harrison was excited about recreating Blake’s prints, about all the techniques Blake used and  discovered.
That is fine if you are an academic or a print maker, perhaps even a historian.
But it is the easy option. It just does not go to the heart of the matter.
Blake is not a revolutionary genius because he invented printing techniques.
He is a unique English genius for connecting thought, feeling and philosophy in poetry and pictures.
It is the placing of poetry and pictures together that makes Blake unique and special.

The exhibition taught us how Blake developed from an autodidact playing in the streets of London to a master engraver and print maker. There are lots of stunning works to enjoy.

But It focuses on things that made Blake a print maker, not an artistic genius.

If I was making a Blake exhibition I would have built it around  this quotation from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

"But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged;
this I shall do by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite
which was hid."  If the doors of perception were cleansed  every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”

It was actually there on the wall of the exhibition, but tucked away in a corner and so badly lit that it was not possible to read it all standing in one position.

The Inspired by Blake festival, which was tacked on to the side of the exhibition, helped to redress the balance a little.  Blake as poet and visonary creative genius was celebrated much more fully in this shorter period.

There was also an opportunity for our modern poets to add something to the mix through our two poetry readings in the exhibition.

I made this for a poster to advertise the first gallery readings in January 2014

It blends an altered image of Blake himself with my own art work.

There is a fragment of my first Blake poem overlayed on the poster.

Both the nudes and the poetry are in a Blakean style.

All this is so easy to achieve in photoshop.

It is so easy to reproduce and share with the world.

Poems for the Blake Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum
                                   January 24th 2015      12.30   and 14.30 p.m.
Poet                                               Poem                                                Object/s
Julie Forth                                  Master and Apprentice                     The monotypes
                                                  Printmaking Studio                           Studio
Nick Owen                                 Inspired by Blake                             Ezekiel
Jalina Mhyana                         "Canto V, La Commedia"                  The Lovers’ Whirlwind 
Mary Stableford         ‘Blake thou shouldst be living at this hour…’      by the print room
Merryn Williams                 Rainy Thursday                                        Outside the exhibition
Derek Summers                Blake and the Volcano God                      Los

I share Mary Stableford's poem from the set here, partly because it set me thinking about what to write myself, and partly because it is too much "In the footsteps" of the master.

Today, we need photoshop and the internet not a copper plate to get our message out to the world about the dreadful things that are happening today which require poets and artists to speak out.

‘Blake thou shouldst be living at this hour…’
Little lad who maimed thee?
who on earth would hurt thee?
A stealthy drone has struck you down
paralysed, naked, to the ground.
Now held firmly: silent, damaged
a dirty turban is your bandage.
Child victim you will be displayed
a large photo. on the centre page,
showing just how much we care.
But we, of course, live nowhere near.
Little lad who maimed thee?
Blake would know who maimed thee.
He’d cut his rage into the copper plate,
reveal the cruel obscenity of your fate.
Mary Stableford
January 2015

I focused my own thoughts on this Ezekiel image.

At this point I realized that even if we are walking in Blake's footprints we should maybe not do it so literally. Merryn Williams offered us something that was essentially a parody. I decided to write something more in the spirit of Blake.

In the spirit of Blake
“Ezekiel, tell me why you may not grieve?”
“When it is time to go we simply leave
Our loved ones pass into a nearby room
My grief would hold me on this earthly plain
My meditation would not be the same.
I have to speak of things
And prophecy.
That’s why.”
“Now Blake, you had a brother.
Tell me why
You did not grieve for him
Although he died
So very young.”
“My brother sits with me
And holds my hand
He tells me of a greater consciousness
And visions that expand
Beyond the worlds
Of single visioned folk.
I do not joke.”
“Last night I slept with loves long dead
I spoke with them
Sweet things they said
About the star you find within your heart
And how great loves
Emerge through art
And now the words begin to flow
I prophecy
and speak of things that you should know
A single vision will not do
So many modern poets
That is you
Shallow pedants tell you what to think
You follow in their footsteps
Writing like they do
When you should find a demon
Or a God or two
Within your very being
Deep within your heart
That’s where to start

If you should need a teacher
Ask your death
His secrets
Listen to your breath.
A second vision you will find
Behind your very ordinary mind
Then if you dare
Dig down into a third
Poetic genius is there
It’s infinite
And not absurd.
Blake can take you where you need to go.
His simple words and visions show
A world of beauty, life and light and joy,
A place where every little girl and boy
Can thrive,
Till they are educated
To a single visioned life
Full of wars
And full of strife,
Where Gods keep fighting
Over who is best.
I’m singularly unimpressed
By all who rule and murder
In some mighty name,
Which should control us all,
Or so they claim.
There is an esoteric truth
Behind each exoteric God.
All Gods dissolve
When humans
On the fourfold path
Have trod.
Existence, consciousness and bliss
That’s what there is.
One other thing I hold as true.
If there are Gods
They dwell within
As you
And you
And you.

We had a second set of readings in February

A double sided poster with poetry and pictures

Gallery Readings for February

Poet                                         Poem                             Object/position
Jennifer McGowan              £52.10.0                                      The apprentice agreement
Tony Isaacs                             Anthem                                              Jerusalem
Louise Larchbourne            Metamorphic                       The approach of doom; Robert Blake
Diana Moore                        The ghost of a flea
Debbie Moogan.                   Behold Newton.                      The Newton image   
Julie Forth                             Imagination Divine                   By the printing press
                                              I turn my back to the east
Sarianne Durie                      Samuel Palmer                        Palmer: Late twilight
Nick Owen                            Lovers redeemed                    Illustration for Dante's Inferno

I chose Blake's illustration for Canto 5 of Dante's inferno, where Virgil speaks with Francesca Da Rimini, who is among those sinners who have had illicit sexual liaisons. Blake rescues her from the whirlwind fate and sets her and her lover in a sun-like sphere up on the top right of his image.

Curiously, Jalina Mhyana had also chosen this work for her poem in the January set.

Lovers Redeemed

Love is a heaven                                                          
And love is a hell
Love is a mistress who likes to compel
She tosses you up
When you’re standing your ground
She smashes you down then
And spins you around
You’re down on your knees
Then you’re up in the sky
You can’t even crawl
Then you find you can fly
When love is just courtly
It isn’t enough
When you’re under her spell
You want more of that stuff
When your heart’s burning up
With forbidden desire
There’s no holy water can put out the fire
You only hear sirens
Not heavenly choir

Yet love is a power that’s stronger than fear 
Your vision is certain
Your vision is clear
You will give up your life
If it brings your love near
You really don’t care if the price
The price
The price
Is impossibly dear

Repent, regret, remorse
Those voices never go away
And yet
And yet
And yet
There is no way
No way to ever make things right
That is forbidden lovers plight
It’s true I did not win the grail
But even Lancelot has failed
And when I die
I know that I
Will fly forever on the wind
And whirl forever through the sky
But I shall reach my lover’s hands
And as the spiral twists, extends
We’ll dance together through the wind
A not unpleasant punishment
For those who’ve sinned
At last, dear Blake
Our hands you’ll take
And pull us from the gale
You’ll rest us in eternity
And finish our travail
Flesh and blood shall fade away
Dissolved within the sun
But we shall find redemption in
The place from whence we come
© Nick Owen            February 2015

I am not sure how well we have done in creating poems good enough for Blake's images. Perhaps people will be willing to comment here on the blog.

There was certainly a burst of creativity back in the 1960's that was very much inspired by Blake.

I note some examples of it.

Timothy Leary and the 1960’s psychedelic revolution
The doors of perception 
The mescalin and LSD experience

Leonard Cohen
The story of Isaac

Patti Smith

The Rolling Stones
Satanic Majesties Requests

The Beatles
Sgt Pepper

Stan Grof The discover of LSD and LSD therapy

C G Jung
If you read Jung, Blake is much easier to understand , I believe, though I know many find Jung hard to understand as well.

In the sixties OZ and IT used simple printing techniques to get out their revolutionary underground newspaper messages

 They had to avoid censorship just as Blake had to do in his revolutionary era.

They were part of a sexual revolution in human relationships which Blake would have whole-heartedly supported.

Music was a huge part of that movement. One of the readings in our second set was actually sung in the exhibition space.

The pop group, The Doors took their name from Blake's words. In Jim Morrison, their lead singer, they had a poet worth celebrating. 

I quote: 

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role.
 You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.
There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level.
It's got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison
“What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn”

Troubled times return

The Guardian Newspaper has picked up on the need for a new visionary spirit for politics

Another time of revolution and war

Art's task is to save the soul of mankind
William Blake

Steve Bell produces a parody of Blake to describe the current threat to our free national Health Service. Over the last thirty years the gap between rich and poor has got ever wider leading to a likely break down of society not unlike the revolutions of Blake's day in France and America.

Perhaps the vehicle for such modern audio-visual poetry might best suit video-poetry

Video Poetry

Owen Sheers has certainly come up with stunning landscape video to enhance the poetry of a number of recent poets. Sadly I have not been able to find them on youtube. They were screened on TV but do not seem to be available on i-player.

I have run out of time. I will leave you with the words of TS Elliot and the imagery of William Blake

In my end is my beginning.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
From the four quartets by T. S. Elliot

I began with Lear's Jerusalem so it is fitting that I end with Blake's amazing image for his own work, Jerusalem. I hope that when I depart it will be like slipping into another though more wonderful room.