William Blake

Great Writers

William Blake's poems The Lamb and The Tyger illustrated

William Blake

Hi Poets! For the month of December, William Blake is YWP's Great Poet, recommended by YWP intern Anna O'Reilly.

William Blake (1757-1827) was a poet, painter, and printmaker, who was not well known during his lifetime but is now considered the first English Romantic poet. He inspired many poets and singers, including Bob Dylan and John Lennon. 

Blake was born on Nov. 28, 1757 in London and died Aug. 12, 1827. There are 139 published poems by Blake. His writings often went against the norms of the day and argued for a more liberal society. Blake wrote about the idea that the government and religion imposed restrictions that limited and oppressed society. In 1951, the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Sydney, Australia, created the Blake Prize in William Blake's name to encourage artists to explore the experience of spirituality, religion, and belief.

Painting of William Blake, poet
[William Blake, World History Archive/Alamy Photo, Poetry Foundation]

In 1782, Blake married an illiterate woman named Catherine Boucher and taught her how to read and write. Under Blake’s tutoring she also became an accomplished draftsman, helping him in the creation of his designs. He often combined these illustrations with his writing. Blake's artistic style was considered unique and visionary, and his influence continues today.





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