Blakefest goes online with unique celebration of visionary poet

Bognor’s Blakefest 2020 launches online on Saturday, November 28 for William Blake’s 263rd birthday, involving more than a hundred artists.

You can peruse galleries, watch a poetry film, listen to original music and much more, says organiser Rachel Searle.

This year’s material will remain online permanently at http://www.blakefest.co.uk

“You will find myriad wonders inspired by the art and poetry of William Blake. We are a creative community united by visionary differences celebrating the poet’s voice in every human being.

“It became quite apparent that, relatively early on in 2020, in our eighth year of operating, we would not be able to hold a normal annual event this year so we have improvised to meet this challenge.

“Funded by Let’s Create, Arts Council England, we have commissioned and organised several lockdown projects which are housed on the website, along with a large archive containing hundreds of photographs of performances and artwork spanning years from 2014-2019, which will only grow as time progresses. In total over 100 artists and performers have been involved with this year’s BlakeFest.

“The visionary poet William Blake lived in Felpham from 1800-03, the only time he lived outside London, where he wrote, among many other things, the words which would become the lyrics to Jerusalem, England’s unofficial National Anthem. Blake, voted 38th in the BBC’s Greatest Britons poll, was largely unrecognised in his lifetime yet knowledge of his genius and his influence has expanded through generations of musicians, poets and artists and is ingrained in our culture here and internationally.

“BlakeFest came about to celebrate the time Blake lived locally and also in an attempt to help ensure that Blake’s Cottage was preserved for the future. Our goal was to enrich our community, encourage and present the spirit of creativity and provide entertainment through exhibitions and performances.
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Beauty during pandemic: “The Lark Ascending”

Ralph Vaughan Williams (12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over sixty years. Strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song, his output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century.

Considered to be among the best-known British symphonists, Williams is noted for his very wide range of moods, from stormy and impassioned to tranquil, from mysterious to exuberant. Among the most familiar of his other concert works are Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and The Lark Ascending (1914).

Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103


The singer of We’ll Meet Again, who entertained British troops in World War Two, has died.

The singer was best known for performing hits such as We’ll Meet Again to troops on the front line in countries including India and Egypt.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers”.

In a statement, they confirmed she died on Thursday morning surrounded by her close relatives.

Source: Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103

UK falls silent to mark VE Day 75 years on

The UK has held a two-minute silence to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, as the country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the silence at 11:00 BST to honour servicemen and women during World War Two, and the Queen will address the nation later.

The PM thanked the VE Day generation, saying “our gratitude will be eternal”.

Events are taking place all day, but public gatherings have been cancelled.

Victory in Europe Day marks the day in 1945 when Britain and its allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, bringing the war in Europe to an end Continue reading

Book review: Divine Images

JASON WHITTAKER | University of Chicago Press

Although relatively obscure during his lifetime, William Blake has become one of the most popular English artists and writers, through poems such as “The Tyger” and “Jerusalem,” and images including The Ancient of Days. Less well-known is Blake’s radical religious and political temperament and that his visionary art was created to express a personal mythology that sought to recreate an entirely new approach to philosophy and art. This book examines both Blake’s visual and poetic work over his long career, from early engravings and poems to his final illustrations, to Dante and the Book of Job. Divine Images further explores Blake’s immense popular appeal and influence after his death, offering an inspirational look at a pioneering figure.

Source: Divine Images