The Visionary Imagination – Week 1!


What a great start to our exploration of William Blake’s transformative visionary imagination! Most of you seemed to grasp really well, through Ginsberg’s celebration of Blake’s poem “The Sunflower”, how Blake seems to provide a gateway to a deeper or heightened vision of reality. Cleansing the Doors of Perception, seems to be what Blake is essentially concerned with, his own Doors and ours, if we care to listen and respond. And that is what we seemed to be doing, beautifully, in all our sessions today. I sensed a real openness and a wish to understand what was lying behind Blake’s words and what lay behind Alan Ginsberg’s bold and dramatic expressions. So this is only the beginning and it can only get better! We are all going to enjoy the ride. Placed below are a number of things that you will find useful from today’s sessions:

Firstly the audio for both the tutorials

Then the audio for the lecture

Here are the slides that accompanied the lecture:

Blake Lecture 1

And now some of the links that we explored in class.

Ginsberg’s reading of Howl (which I remember taking my Marist Brothers North Sydney year 11 and 12 students to in around 1970- this was the year I started teaching- a mere 48 years ago- YIKES!):

Next an interview with Ginsberg when he was less radical a few years later. This video is particularly insightful into the nature and purpose of poetry. What Ginsberg says here about the power of the free form of his own verse is something that we will see in Blake’s own “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”:

Next we listened to Ginsberg reading Blake’s “Ah Sunflower”, the poem which triggered Ginsberg’s epiphany into a new consciousness:

Enjoy the ride!


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