Category Archives: Blake (William)

The Evangelical Rose Is Sick

Many rightwing evangelicals are selling their souls for Trumpism. William Blake would have something to say about that.

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Rightwing Evangelicals Bind with Briars

Studies show that college does not turn young people away from religion. In fact, literature and humanities courses can strengthen faith.

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Wordsworth and a Depressed Philosopher

When utilitarian John Stuart Mill’s philosophy led him into despair, Wordsworth’s poetry saved him.

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Immigrants Face a Sophie’s Choice

Republicans have recently been outdoing themselves in cruelty, both regarding immigration and health care. William Styron and William Blake weigh in.

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The Twisted Fingers Letting Go

Catherine Alder has a beautiful poem in which she calls upon us to unclench our fists. I reflect also upon two other works that feature clenched fists, Blake’s “Grey Monk” and George MacDonald’s “Lilith.”

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All Must Love the Human Form

In “The Divine Image,” Blake gives us a poem for our time, a call to pray for mercy, pity, peace, and love and to recognize the human form in diversity. In “The Human Abstract” he adds that prayer is not enough. It must be accompanied by human justice.

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Teachers, Don’t Nip Their Buds

In “Songs of Experience,” William Blake worries that authority figures will nip the promise of budding schoolboys. “The Schoolboy” serves as a timely reminder for all teachers.

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Ted Cruz–Dark and Satanic?

When NYT columnist David Brooks called Ted Cruz “dark and satanic,” he was referencing a Blake poem. But although the allusion is apt, it struck most people as weird or offensive because they didn’t recognize the source.

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The Utterly Amazing William Blake

William Blake spoke to protesters in the 1960s but that is far from his only audience. A recent “New York Review of Books” articles surveys his greatness.

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He Doth Sit By Us and Moan

Last week I was honored by my friend Jean Yeatman when she asked me to sit with her at her mother’s deathbed. We talked about childhood excursions that our families took together and also about the importance of ritual in our lives. Today’s William Blake poem is for her and her brother Clay. Blake finds […]

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To See God, the Eye Must Catch Fire

Blake’s poem “Pentecost” explains what is necessary to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit.

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Pantry Moths in the Howling Storm

Faced with an infestation of pantry moths, my mind turned to Blake’s “The Sick Rose.”

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Pullman Is of the Devil’s Party

Philip Pullman based “Dark Materials” on “Paradise Lost” but came up with a theological muddle.

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Relationship Advice from Blake

Blake’s “Clod and the Pebble” warn us to steer between two opposite dangers in our relationships.

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Cherish the Angel at Your Door

William Blake’s “Holy Thursday” poems challenges those members of Congress voting to cut food stamps.

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God Dwells in Mercy, Pity, Peace, Love

Pope Francis ! might well embrace the vision of love found in Blake’s “Divine Image.”

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My Father Piped Songs of Pleasant Glee

As I read my dying father poems from Blake’s “Songs of Innocence,” I relived cherished memories.

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The Zen of an Old Growth Forest

Biologist David Haskell approaches forests in a way that is both scientific and poetic.

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Drones Put Heaven in a Rage

This Scott Bates poem protesting aerial killing machines could apply to today’s drone program.

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My Heart Leapt Up

A rainbow sighting led to a discussion about how humans often turn to nature for guiding metaphors.

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Songs of Innocence Destroyed

Blake captures the tragic clash between childhood innocence and worldly corruption that we witnessed in Sandy Hook.

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Lit Featured in Olympic Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics were rich in literary allusions.

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To Esmé and Alban with Love (No Squalor)

With names from Salinger and Blake, my two new grandchildren have promising destinies.

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Campaign 2012: Assorted Lit Allusions

Literary allusions are flying fast and free in this primary season.

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Read Blake, Stand Up to Your Boss

Businessman David Whyte turns to poetry to hold on to his soul in the corporate world.

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Jerusalem in a Green and Pleasant Land

William Blake’s “Jerusalem” has been used for both religious and patriotic purposes. One must negotiate the relationship between religion and politics very closely since God can get bent to serve narrow agendas, and this poem is frequently misinterpreted.

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Spain’s Tiger Burning Less Bright

Did the god that made the elegant strokes of Roger Federer also make the bruising style of Nadal? Like William Blake gazing at the lamb and the tiger in “Tyger, Tyger,” we can only shake our heads bemused.

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Poetry Often Prefers Losers

Young McIlroy, bidding to become the youngest golfer to win the Master’s since, yes, Tiger, found himself cast in the role of Icarus. Flying close to the bright sun of fame, the wax in his wings melted and he plummeted to earth in a debacle that scorched the eyes to watch.

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Walt Whitman, William Blake, and Baseball

Film Friday The World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants gives me an excuse for posting on what is, in my opinion, the greatest movie on baseball. Among the many virtues of Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham are its literary allusions and its literariness. Each year Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) chooses to […]

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The Church and the Chimney-Sweep’s Cry

In his August 29 Washington Mall speech, rightwing television commentator Glenn Beck attacked (among other things) the notion that Christianity should be concerned with issues of social justice. He accused Barack Obama and liberation theology of distorting Jesus’s message. For the President, Beck said, it’s all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, […]

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Seeking a Spiritual Connection with Nature

from Songs of Innocence and Experience  My Introduction to Literature class (focus on Nature) has just moved from Robinson Crusoe to William Blake, and we are seeing in the 18th century a  conflict similar to one we are witnessing today over the environment. Defoe’s protagonist is an advocate of the “drill, baby, drill” approach to nature although, […]

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