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BAND, Digital Humanities

Ginsberg’s Memories of Blake’s Sunflower

Recently, while looking for inspiration for a poetry assignment, I revisited one of my favorite poems, Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra.” I always loved this poem for its energy and relentless optimism. After arriving at a dock and sitting “under the huge shade of a Southern/Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the/box house hills and cry,” Ginsberg sees a dead sunflower and goes into a fit of emotions, ending with the cheery declaration, “we’re all beautiful golden sunflowers inside.” But this journey is not easy. Before Ginsberg’s uplifting conclusion, we’re first taken through a sort of microcosm of the industrial wasteland that is America:

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BAND, Digital Humanities

The Emendations in Poetical Sketches

Blake’s earliest work, Poetical Sketches, is printed in a typographically traditional way, which made reproducing a digital edition of Sketches a little anomalous. Noting and describing Blake’s handwritten emendations and other printing errors initiated questions that went beyond typical Archive standards.

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BAND, XML

Languages and Ligatures

One of the first blog posts I ever wrote for Hell’s Printing Press was titled “Laocoön and Languages.” The inspiration behind the post was that, in working on textual transcriptions, I had come across instances where Blake writes in a language other than English and I had been pointed to Laocoön as an example of a published Blake Archive work that deals with the problem of how to transcribe text in languages other than English.

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BAND

All Fun and Games

At the beginning of summer, my mom, who’s a sixth-grade English teacher, asked me to take her classes for a day. Working with young kids is a little out of the ordinary for a grad student, but it seemed like a good way to get my feet wet with teaching composition on the horizon. Plus, getting a glimpse of the potential obstacles, needs, and interests of an eleven-year-old learner was bound to offer me a valuable perspective that I may not otherwise get.

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BAND

Blake’s Afterlife: Howard Finster, the Backwoods Blake

About one-hundred miles north of Atlanta, a colorful, otherworldly folk art environment stands in Summerville, Georgia. Self-taught artist Howard Finster (1916-2001) began work on his Paradise Garden in 1961, using materials such as glass, concrete, and discarded objects to create six sacred buildings. Today, the site remains as a monument to Finster’s prolific life, religious fervor, and distinctive artworks.

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BAND, Digital Humanities

Insights from a Doubly Digital Humanist

This semester I enrolled in a course entitled “Digital History: Historical Worlds, Virtual Worlds, Virtual Museums”— thoroughly intrigued by the course’s description which promised to teach me to “harness emerging technologies to educate the public about the past.” It seemed familiar, yet distant enough from my existing skill set to be rewarding.

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BAND, Digital Humanities, XML

Songs of Innocent XML

The top of the XML tree for William Blake, An Island in the Moon, Copy 1 (1784–85), page 1, www.blakearchive.org/bad/bb74.1.xml.

One of my responsibilities as an Andrew W. Mellon Digital Humanities Fellow at the University of Rochester is contributing to an established digital humanities project. For that reason, I am the newest member of the Blake Archive North Division team. While I do not have a background in William Blake’s works or those of his contemporaries, I study U.S. religious and cultural history, so Blake’s talk of a unity in religion and his flirtation with Swedenborg’s tiered heaven echo what I’ve read in American sources. Blake’s visions are wild and, unlike many religious innovators, he actually drew and painted them.

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