michaelgriffith (michaelgriffith) wrote,

William Blake's attitude to Sexual Experience- Week 10 Blog

1. Alicia Ostriker defines four sets of Blakean attitudes towards sexual experience and gender relations (page 560 in your text). What do you make of these four sets of attitudes? How does it accord with your own sense of Blake's views on sex (from the Garden of Love through to The Visions of the Daughters of Albion).

2. Using dear old Gwen Harwood as a model, write your own Blakean poem on this subject!!!! Take one line from either of her poems (printed below) and use this as the starting point for your own extemporization..... (but whether you do this second topic or the first - please read the Ostriker essay. It will help you make more sense of "Visions"

from "Carnal Knowledge 1"

Roll back, you fabulous animal
be human, sleep. I’ll call you up
from water’s dazzle, wheat-blond hills,
clear light and open-hearted roses,
this day’s extravagance of blue
stored like a pulsebeat in the skull.

Content to be your love, your fool,
your creature tender and obscene
I’ll bite sleep’s innocence away
and wake the flesh my fingers cup
to build a world from what’s to hand,
new energies of light and space

wings for blue distance, fins to sweep
the obscure caverns of your heart…
(Selected Poems p 104)

from "Carnal Knowledge 2"

Earth has no more to yield.
Her blond grasses are dry.
Nestling my cheek against
the hollow of your thigh
I lay cockeyed with love
in the most literal sense....

God grant me drunkenness
if this is sober knowledge,

song to melt sea and sky
apart, and lift these hills
from the shadow of what was,
and roll them back, and lie
in naked ignorance
in the hollow of your thigh.
( Selected Poems p. 105)

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