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William Blake's Romantic Cosmology: The Blog of the Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly

In the context of our last 'Blake's Romantic Cosmology' series post, we invite our members to check out this fascinating blog post by the blog of the William Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly on the musical adaptation of Blake's 'A Poison Tree'!

'In his poetry and paintings, there is a radiant energy that bursts with universal ecstasy, an earnestness to it all that over two centuries later still endears him to many artists, filmmakers, poets, and musicians. Blake was largely ignored in his time, yet he continued steadfast on his path, creating works so unlike what then was in fashion. The pureness of his vision and the drive to realize it in the face of indifference are qualities with which so many artists since him have connected. He is viewed with both awe and empathy, and his works are often taken very personally.

And so it was for me, when, after becoming an immediate admirer, I found myself sitting in bookstores for hours on end poring over the available Blakean collections and various editions of Songs. No matter which version I read or how often I returned to it, “A Poison Tree” was always a delight that stood out among the songs. There’s a certain playfulness in Blake’s works that is readily apparent in “A Poison Tree.” To me, it reads in a voice similar to Montresor’s from Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”—a gloating, gleeful reveling in a revenge plot successfully executed. In the few musical adaptations of the poem that I have heard, I’ve never felt that this playfulness was expressed, and have always wanted to create a version with the kind of voice I’ve always imagined'

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