here’s a non-Americana post for you, or so it would seem.
been doin’ some booking and emailing, the office type of stuff, and on my desk is a copy of Blake’s Poetry and Designs and that got me to thinking about him.
i first read blake in college, a course in british literature of course, and i can still picture dr. stevens talking about the little boy crying “weep… weep… weep” and how his call was not from pain but he was unable to pronounce “Sweep” and advertise his services. i’m not sure why it struck me but it did and i started paying closer attention to blake than ever before. i wrote three papers on blake… eventually earned my masters.
the funny thing about blake is that he wasn’t taken too seriously during his time and was largely dismissed as mentally unstable in early criticism. mentally unstable? because he believed in absolute creativity… the height of his four fold vision of heaven and hell dictated that we, in corporeal form, achieve heaven , known as eden, when we are lost in a moment of absolute original creativity. his ideas are not unlike emerson’s in terms of defining a new religion and a new poetry… the same idea carried about by thoreau and whitman.
so that swings me around to today… where is blake? a precursory view leads me to steve earle. he’s all socially conscious, right? i don’t think he ever looked at the tree out back and saw it burst into flames with angels… but he does believe in his own visions or inner truth as to how they pertain to a world view or big picture. i don’t think that i want my point to become mere comparisons between the two folks… ’cause what good would that do?
there has to be a point to this… and here we go… steve earle just played baltimore last night; i missed it. he apparently opened the show with “way down in the hole” by tom waits, which of course we all know is the theme to the wire, everyone’s favorite show about baltimore. and i’m sure we’re all way aware of earle’s checkered drug past that most biographies and articles touch on… “way down in the hole” is waits’s call to arms? about resisting temptation… here are great examples of contextual, situational, and verbal irony, right? but i’m starting to think that those lyrics… which i haven’t considered in a blakean context, have something akin to blake… maybe a bit more conservative in concept but in delivery… waits is in eden the entire time.
okay… i’ve run out of steam… and time…