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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Blake Quarterly

Poetry from the archives of the Blake Quarterly

While working on the journal’s index this morning I noticed how many poems we have published over the years. We might go from one year to the next without any verse, but over nearly fifty years we have enough for a chapbook. Since the Blake blog is usually quiet on Fridays, I thought I could use the space to draw attention to some of these poems.

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Hidden Behind a Screen

During the past few months I have been one of several project assistants processing images for the online archive of Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly. Every now and then, hidden amongst the articles, minute particulars, and book reviews, I’ll stumble across a creative piece. Last week, while working on an issue from 1991, a poem caught my eye, but it wasn’t a poem by Blake; it was a poem about the Blakes, written by American poet Paulette Roeske. It’s called “Mrs. Blake Requests Her Portrait.”

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Introducing: Blake’s French Revolution

A couple of us at the Blake Archive have taken on Blake’s 1791 poem French Revolution as a new typographic project. We use many of the same principles established in early publications of typographic works. Thus, after working out some important typographic questions on the Descriptive Catalog, the French Revolution transcription appears to be fairly straightforward.

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