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Poetry for Young People: William Blake

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With its combination of poetic brilliance and exquisite art, the Poetry for Young People series has won the admiration of critics, educators, children, and parents. Every breathtaking volume in this acclaimed, bestselling collection features magnificent full-color illustrations that enhance each verse, and a renowned scholar?s guidance to help children understand and love poetry. There?s an introduction to each poem, full annotations that define unfamiliar vocabulary, and ...
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Overview

With its combination of poetic brilliance and exquisite art, the Poetry for Young People series has won the admiration of critics, educators, children, and parents. Every breathtaking volume in this acclaimed, bestselling collection features magnificent full-color illustrations that enhance each verse, and a renowned scholar’s guidance to help children understand and love poetry. There’s an introduction to each poem, full annotations that define unfamiliar vocabulary, and fascinating biographical information.
The star of this superb new entry in the series is 18th century artist and poet William Blake, who wrote his mystical, spirit-filled verses for children and adults alike. Best known for his masterpieces “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience”—both excerpted here—he speaks of love, hate, anguish, relief and above all, mercy and the divine image that comforts us. Blake often uses simple, lovely language that young readers can appreciate, as well as animal metaphors; his poems sometimes even come in pairs, with the same subjects seen from different points of view. Professor John Maynard (Poetry for Young People: Alfred Lord Tennyson) provides the excellent biography and notes. Artist Alessandra Cimatoribus contributes richly colored and magically rendered paintings that fully capture the gentleness of “The Lamb,” the sparkling deep blue sky and angels of “Night,” and “The Tyger,” eyes glistening and sharp teeth bared—burning bright.

See Great Poets series header.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
It is an ambitious task indeed to bring the profound poetry of Blake to the eyes and ears of young people. Drawing on Blake's "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience," Maynard has chosen works with deceptively simple words that often have a deeper core and deal with the emotions of love, hate, and lust, all with spiritual overtones. The "Tyger Tyger burning bright…" is here along with "Little Lamb who made thee?" in all their majesty and innocence that many young readers will enjoy. But "Little Boy Lost" who is executed, the "Poison Tree" in which the speaker rejoices that his enemy has eaten the poison fruit, and "The Chimney Sweep" who decries his hard life and longs for death to reconcile him to a pastoral existence may be too harsh for today's children, who will need adult input for meaning and appreciation. The final selection from Blake's later life includes excerpts from his more visionary poems, such as "Auguries of Innocence" and "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." There is an excellent summary of Blake's life that lays the foundation for his writing. Stunning artwork breathes life into the poems and celebrates each poem perfectly. Audience appreciation is limited and this book will be best used in a teaching environment.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9
Packaging Blake for this audience is no small challenge. The book begins with a heroic attempt to explain some of his themes and philosophy in a four-page introduction. Maynard speaks of the poet with insight, eloquence, and obvious admiration, but his comments are more likely to be appreciated by adults than by children. He prefaces each poem with explanatory comments that are also thought-provoking and illuminating. They are mostly age-appropriate, but at times they go beyond the intellectual range of middle schoolers. Most of the selections are from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience . Maynard does not shy away from the fact that many of them have strong Christian images or deal with harsh social themes. The artwork is well matched to the tone of the poems. Cimatoribus's illustrations are at the same time childlike and surreal. The simplified shapes of the figures contrast with the rich, textured colors and reflect the complex nature of the poetry. As a whole, this work does an admirable job of presenting Blake to young people.
—Donna CardonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806936475
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Poetry for Young People Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William Blake (1757—1827) was a British poet, painter, engraver, and visionary mystic who proclaimed the supremacy of the imagination over the rationalism and materialism of the eighteenth century.
G. E. Bentley, Jr., has taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto and is an authority on Blake and his world.
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