BLAKE NOW: new poems inspired by William Blake

A fine Christopher Wren church in London’s West End, St James’s Piccadilly is where the visionary poet and artist William Blake was baptised in 1757.

The church, in partnership with The Poetry Society, asked Sophie Herxheimer, Joseph Coelho, Ankita Saxena, Ruth Awolola and Natalie Linh Bolderston to reflect on Blake and his relevance now, and to create new poems inspired by his work.

BLAKE NOW – the film created by SJP – features the poets reading and discussing their new work. Sophie Herxheimer was able to visit the church and film under Covid-safe conditions – she recites her poem next to Blake’s baptismal font. The film explores Blake, his city of London and his city of the imagination. Blake’s poem ‘London‘ is still as shocking and visceral as ever. First published in ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ over 200 years ago, his anger and outrage infuses every word and every image. Having lived in the capital most of his life, and at a time of great political and social upheaval, Blake’s poem is a damning portrayal of eighteenth century London.


Watch on our Vimeo channel.

Find a captioned version of the film here.

St James’s Church, Piccadilly, is a space to reflect, debate and create in central London. It has a cultural programme of talks, discussion, events and programmes that support the artists, creators and debaters of tomorrow.

15 April 2021