Poet: William Blake

London by William Blake

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This student film by Alex Robinson offers a new take on Blake’s “mind-forged manacles.”

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

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Blake in Turkish kinetic type animation! I think Alper Yildirim really captures the mood of Blake’s poems (see the Wikipedia for the complete text). In the notes on Vimeo, he explains:

This video is done for the typography course, when i was in the post-graduate program of Hacettepe University -i am not studying there now ,thanks to god-. I tried to make a mixage of using moving typographic elements with animation. The Chimney Sweeper is a poem of William Blake, and i used its first verse.

When my mother Died, I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue,
Could scarcely cry weep weep weep weep,
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

“And did those feet in ancient time” by William Blake

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Continuing the theme of videopoems that riff on television conventions, here’s a poetry promo from the BBC disguised as a sporting news story from the BBC. The poem is referred to as “Jerusalem,” but it’s actually from the Preface to Milton. A popular hymn adaptation by Hubert Parry a century after Blake wrote it is reponsible for the new title, according to the Wikipedia.

The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, travelled to the area that is now England and visited Glastonbury. The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem. The Christian church in general, and the English Church in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.

That’s one of those metaphors that would seem to have outlived its relevance, except perhaps in the writing of the late Mahmoud Darwish.

The School Boy by William Blake

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A short entitled “Schoolboy” by Charlotte Herriman, who says,

Experimental film scratching/drawing piece for my Frame by Frame animation class. I started out with a found strip of film and manipulated it with a knife and permanent markers. I sent the film through a Steinbeck film projector and recorded it with a digital camera.

The piece is about a William Blake poem called ‘School Boy’ where he questions the need for schools. Blake implies that the ways in which children are taught routinely in schools is not the best way for them to flourish. At the time, I was terribly frustrated with school myself! ;)

Here’s the complete poem:

I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learnings bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy.
But droop his tender wing.
And forget his youthful spring.

O! father & mother. if buds are nip’d,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip’d
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay.

How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear.
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy
Or bless the mellowing year.
When the blasts of winter appear.

The Tyger by William Blake

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Joshua Casoni may not have gotten the title or all the words quite right, but this is still the most imaginative video interpretation I’ve seen of the poem. Doug Toomer stars at the homeless man. Casoni was assisted by Jake Doty on camera and sound.

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

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This video really adds to my appreciation of the William Blake poem. I’m not sure who put it together, but it’s one of a number of video poems from the Catalan literature site Blocs de Lletres (whence the Catalan subtitles).