This post is not really about William Blake. But, in a way it is. This morning while eating breakfast I began to read some of his poems from Songs of Innocence (I have a free copy on iBooks on my iPhone). His poems worked about the same as mine - that is, I am rarely entirely satisfied with any one of my poems. I have written hundreds over the past five years, but I would guess that maybe 10 or 20 satisfy me completely. So, that a recognized classic poet is about the same relieved me. But, I digress. I have assiduously avoided reading the poetry of others since I began writing the same. I have a weak will, and knew or believed, that if I read poetry I would copy the style of each poet as I wrote. With Blake, and other older poets, I decided to take a chance, thinking that their style would be so old and formal that I wouldn't have to worry. My chief influences from High School days of studying poetry were Leonard Cohen and Catullus - so I avoid these! But dreary, stilted Victorian poetry carries no such worries for me.
I read a few, then decided to look at the Wikipedia article on Blake to get an idea of the man. I found him to be someone who burst the boundaries of convention in his time - the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was a romantic - which I admire. He was not a producer of standard dreary, stilted Victorian poetry.
But, and this is the point of my post here, I realized from learning about his character that I had gone off track with my long prose-poem The Man who fell from the Sky. Yesterday, I published part of it here on this blog, after having rewritten sections and added other parts over the past week or so. I have lost my way in it. This work was to be a work of pure inspiration, avoiding - no not avoiding as the word 'avoid' implies deliberation. The Man who fell from the Sky is to be a work where the voices shouting in my head pop onto the screen without any attention paid to conventions of writing, either prose or poetry. Instead, over the past week, I have tried to shape it into a narrative, with only a few nods towards the madness I want to see there. I am writing now a side story, as an experiment - a strictly text based, narrative bit of erotic romance. An experiment because I didn't think I could write a strict beginning, middle, end narrative tale. I am enjoying the experiment. But I find it has infected Sky Man.
So back to the drawing board for The Man who fell from the Sky. If someone like William Blake can spend his adult life in near penury because he refused to follow the conventions of his time in his art, then surely a minor figure such as myself can also in this age.