Inspired by the work of William Blake, poets Ed Roberson, Reginald Gibbons, Rachel Jamison Webster, and Parneshia Jones joined Tristram Wolff, English and Comp Lit professor for a discussion and expanded reading on February 28, 2018. Wolff addressed the theme of the garden in Blake’s poems, followed by readings by the assembled poets from Blake’s poetry and the poets’ own work. Blake’s poetry often relayed his fascination with the natural world. He painted vivid pictures of pastoral landscapes, urban industrialism and environmental apocalypse. This program was envisioned to celebrate Blake’s lasting influence and bring the green and light of the garden to the heart of winter.
Lisa Robertson, Excerpt from “Wednesday” published in The Weather
Clear blue but yellowish in the northeast; we sit and explore. Clouded toward the south; we will not be made to mean by a space. We’ll do newness.
Crickets accumulate; our expression of atmosphere has curious intentions. We also do decay. Dusk invades us; the description itself must offer shelter. No gesture shuts us. Each leaf’s a runnel; the struggle is not teleological.
We break the jar, smack it down. Soul spills all over— cyprine. Every rill is a channel; our shelters are random.
Every surface is ambitious; we excavate a non-existent period of the human. Everything is being lifted into place.
Everything is illuminated; we prove inexhaustibility. Far into night an infinite sweetness; beyond can be our model.
Forget the saltiness; we tear the calendar of bitterness and sorrow. Here a streak of white; there a streak of dark; we pour the word-built world.
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