Summative Entry

Visionary Imagination, as expressed in the work of William Blake, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley has given me a new way of seeing and understanding the world.

My first blog for this assignment is a critical analysis on Allen Ginsberg’s poem: ‘Sunflower Sutra’. After studying this poem I immediately understood how Ginsberg was inspired by William Blake’s literature and art. More importantly, I was able to identify some of the important messages Ginsberg conveys in his poem, such as the importance of having freedom and obtaining balance in one’s life, as well as the importance of environmentalism, and having a connection to nature.

My second blog is a critical analysis of Patti Smith’s song: ‘My Blakean Year’. This was one of my favourite texts studied in the unit as it explores solutions to many issues that are relevant to the world today such as the importance of letting go of things that hold you back, and to not let fear or worry weigh you down. Furthermore, Smith’s song embodies the essence of Blake’s mission to find truth and experience fulfilment with all of one’s being. To view this entry, click this link: https://suzannes2016.wordpress.com/2018/09/08/blog-2-analysis-of-patti-smiths-song-my-blakean-year/

My third blog includes a critical analysis of Brett Whiteley’s artwork: ‘Alchemy’ and William Blake’s engravings. As I was studying Whiteley’s artwork, I was simply amazed. Almost every corner and every panel of the artwork, was filled with little, profound images or quotes that had meaning. ‘Alchemy’ as a whole takes the viewer on an extraordinary journey from the origins of humanity to the point where someone like William Blake experiences a sacred connection to nature, as depicted in the last few panels of the ‘journey’ where paintings of a lyrebird, a flannel flower and a kangaroo are shown in a positive light, hence the splashes of yellow and gold paint.

As I was studying Blake’s engravings, I could see how Blake depicted his own understanding of the Book of Job in his engravings and how he saw Job’s relationship with the divine in each plate. I was also amazed at how the quotes compliment the visionary images in each plate. It was also great to study Blake’s artwork ‘Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrims’ as we were lectured about it by Professor Paul Hardwick. His lecture helped me to understand the significance of Piers Plowman in Blake’s artwork, as the Plowman was considered to be the ideal Christian in medieval England. My third blog is what I consider to be one of my best critical entries. To view my third blog, click this link: https://suzannes2016.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/my-reflection-on-brett-whiteleys-artwork-alchemy-and-william-blakes-engravings/

For my fourth blog, I decided to create my own blog topic. This blog is about how much of a modernist Patrick White can be as he aims to seek truth in a lot of his texts, and explores the stream of consciousness in a lot of his characters, and doesn’t just focus on the outward appearance of the characters in his plays or novels. White highlights the extraordinary in the ordinary in the various texts he has written. In my blog, I was inspired by this philosophy and wrote a mini reflection on how people overlook the simple expressions of a person and think that they can always accurately grasp how the person is feeling just by looking at them from a distance. However, in reality, that person could be experiencing immense hardship and pain without showing their true feelings or talking about it directly. Therefore, it’s important to be considerate of the way you treat people, because most of the time, you really don’t know what people are going through or what people have been through.

My last blog consists of two paragraphs describing two paintings that I am not familiar with in terms of the theory or story behind each painting. It is important to note that Patrick White’s literary techniques includes the stream of consciousness, meaning to include the inner thoughts of the character, implementing the character’s flashbacks and dreams. Furthermore, White’s descriptive language takes the reader on a journey which is what I tried to do as well in this blog, and include the said literary techniques in my paragraphs such as the probing questions in my first paragraph to highlight the inner thoughts of the artist, the dream the artist had, and the descriptive language in the second paragraph to convey the artist’s experience in finding inner peace through nature, as they break a way from the meaningless lifestyle they were living, a common theme in Patrick White’s literature. My fifth blog is what I consider to be one of my best creative entries. To view my fifth blog, click this link: https://suzannes2016.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/blog-5-my-attempt-to-describe-paintings-inspired-by-patrick-whites-style-of-writing/

All in all, studying the works of William Blake, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley have given me greater insight into ways of seeing and understanding the world, as they explore the importance of spirituality, individualism, and the importance of appreciating nature. These topics are especially insightful as they are still relevant and are important to the world today.

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Blog 5 – My attempt to describe paintings inspired by Patrick White’s style of writing

Write a paragraph describing a painting using Patrick White’s technique of taking you inside the artist’s thinking. Chose a painting that you are not familiar with and reproduce the painting in your blog then write a “Whitean” description of the artist creating this work.

(I decided to write about two paintings).

Painting One:

Am I a part of the rat race? Am I able to stand out and be real as ever, be as true as I can be, will I be able to appreciate love in the midst of darkness, chaos and routine? Will I drift away with the wrong crowd or experience inner peace?

What inspired me to create this painting was not only the said questions I’ve been asking myself but also a dream I had. In the dream, I hopped on a train and I began to notice that no one was looking at me, nor at each other, all I could hear them repeatedly say in a robotic manner: “Tic-tac-toe, eeny miny mo”. The thought of no one hearing me, noticing me or making any sign of human interaction horrified me. My hands were trembling as I was looking around the train, searching for a way out, and then all of a sudden, as quick as flash, I was comfortably swimming in the sea, with my work clothes on, and began to notice the same people in the distance, also comfortably swimming. To my surprise, they were smiling at me, and at each other.

Title: Swimmers

Artist: Monica Ramos

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Painting two:

I was incredibly sick and tired of working in the same crappy office job. Snap! Pouf! Just like that, I decided to quit mid-day. I used the little bit of courage I had left in me to not inform my employer, but leave in a frenzy. I ran as fast as I could to an area that seemed peaceful, and all I could think of was the nearby farm, the farm that I would constantly stare at through the window on the train I would catch nearly everyday for the past eight years. As I quickly ran, my legs were shaking, my body was sweating. I slowly crept through the gate and laid on the grass as still as a statue, but after five minutes of staring at the bright green land in front of me, I slowly took a deep breath, and felt calm. At last.

Title: The Poet Reclining

Artist: Marc Chagall

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Peer Review 4

https://taramichellebriggs.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/letter-to-quinn/comment-page-1/#comment-97

Hi Tara,

Firstly, this is an amazing poem! I really love the rhyming techniques in your poem, as they aren’t just there for the sake of rhyming, it really adds meaning to your poem. This poem was very engaging to read, and really takes the reader on a journey as it cleverly conveys your experience, including the feelings, energies and thoughts that you experienced. The only aspect of your blog that I am a bit confused about is the title, as the poem doesn’t seem to be written in a form of a letter, and I was expecting to gain a bit of insight into who your friend is or the kind of connection you have with ‘Quinn’. Other than that, this really is an amazing and creatively written poem, so keep up the great work!

Peer Review 3

https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/first-blog-2/comment-page-1/#comment-92

Hi Felicity,

Firstly, this is a fantastic blog! You concisely describe your surroundings and set the scene really well in the first paragraph of the blog, which is a great start and was engaging to read. The heart of this story is that you really capture the joyful moment that you and your family members experienced, and how the joy that you witnessed and experienced positively impacted you. I especially love the last two sentences of your blog: “My grandmother looked years younger and all the pieces of the puzzle fit. It was absolute and total bliss – all was right with the world”. This served as a really nice closure and at the same time seem to highlight an interesting point in your blog, which was how your grandmother looked years younger, after reading this I could sort of understand what that might mean. It seems as though joy can not only make us feel happy, but consequently make us look more happy and bright, inwardly and outwardly. It’s good that you’ve provided a bit of background information as to why your grandmother felt even more happy for your eldest cousin, which can also help the reader understand the last sentence: “all was right with the world”.

Keep up the great work!
Suzanne

Blog 4 – Finding the extraordinary within the ordinary

Create your own topic based on any aspect of the literature we have been studying this week- including references to your own life experience as appropriate.

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After studying Patrick White’s literature in several of my units at university, including Australian Drama, Australian Literature and of course Visionary Imagination, I’ve come to realise how much of a modernist Patrick White can be, as he uniquely and terrifically captures the complexity of the inner human psyche in characters who seek to find truth and fulfilment in nature or spirituality. This is evident in many of his texts including, ‘Riders in the Chariot’, ‘The Season at Sarsaparilla’, and in his essay ‘The Prodigal Son’. Although, most characters in his play ‘The Season at Sarsaparilla’ explore the shallowness in Australian suburbia, as most of the characters seem to only focus on materialism and gossip.

Patrick White wrote in his essay ‘The Prodigal Son’: “I wanted to discover the extraordinary behind the ordinary”. From memory, I heard this quote in my first year studying English Literature at university and it has really resonated with me ever since. It is a philosophy I agree with, as people tend to overlook the beauty and the miraculousness of things in many aspects of life. People can be so distracted by the chaos of life that they forget to sometimes stop and ponder over moments that are beautiful, meaningful and fulfilling.

In Patrick White’s texts, he seems to look beyond the surface of characters and concisely encapsulates inner thoughts, emotions and energies that help the reader to understand what the character is really like in a certain situation or moment of the text. Similarly, some people may think they can they can really grasp how the person is feeling just by looking at them from a distance, but in reality, that person could be experiencing immense hardship and pain without showing their true feelings or talking about it directly. Therefore, it’s important to be considerate of the way you treat people, because most of the time, you really don’t know what people are going through or what people have been through.

Just thought I’d leave this tweet here, as it relates to the point about how our perceptions of people may not always be accurate

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Peer Review 2

https://rainaebrahim.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/blog-2-write-a-letter-to-william-blake-asking-him-if-he-can-help-you-to-come-closer-to-an-understanding-of-the-visionary-experience-he-speaks-about-in-his-letters/

Hi Raina,

This is a fantastic letter that you have written, it’s very honest and personal, which I love! You have also provided insight into the important concepts that Blake explores in his poem, ‘Earth’s Answer’, and you’ve also explained how the ideas and concerns of the poem are still relevant today. The picture at the top of your letter makes your letter more interesting, although I would of liked to see maybe a sentence or two explaining its relevance to the letter or any kind of information that would explain the significance of the artwork that you chose to display in your letter. Perhaps you could also include Blake’s artwork/poem ‘Earth’s Answer’? Nonetheless, this a great entry, so keep up the great work!

Blog 3 – My reflection on Brett Whiteley’s artwork ‘Alchemy’ and William Blake’s engravings

General Blog Question: A short blog expressing simply what inspired you most today, or what moment you felt was most illuminating, or what you enjoyed most about today.

When I saw Brett Whiteley’s artwork ‘Alchemy’ I was simply amazed. Almost every corner and every panel of the artwork, was filled with little, profound images or quotes that had meaning. I was amazed at how Whiteley filled the spaces with intertextuality, and other significant drawings. What was also fascinating, was the forms of art within the entire artwork as a whole, as it wasn’t just a painting, it had digital forms of art within the artwork, such as the light in the flannel flower in panel 4, photographs in panels 13, 14, and 16. Other forms of art include sculptures of a brain with the yin-yang symbol, which reminded me of William Blake’s concept of the marriage of heaven and hell, and Blake’s philosophy in ‘Songs of innocence’ and ‘Experience’. Furthermore, the sculpture of a bird and a branch in panel 7 alludes to Whiteley’s love of birds which began in his childhood and continued throughout his life. Additionally, the 3D lens in panels 11 and 12, points to a tiny written verse: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour”, the first stanza of Blake’s famous poem,“Auguries of Innocence”.

In my opinion Whiteley’s artwork takes the viewer on an extraordinary journey. If one looks at ‘Alchemy’ from the last panel (panel 18), to the the first (panel 1), you can see how the artwork depicts the origins of humanity, and then progresses into the chaos of civilisation, figuring yourself out and asking existential questions, which then lead to the boldly displayed word, ‘IT’ in panel 10. This panel reminds me of T.S Eliot’s existential question in his famous poem, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’: “Oh do not ask what is it, let us go an make our visit”. The fact that nothing else is on panel 10 other than the word ‘IT’ makes this panel stand out even more and highlights the meaning and significance of the word in the artwork, as it purportedly highlights the point in one’s life where you question the meaning of your existence. After the word ‘IT’ one can see the splashes of yellow and gold paint, and can notice paintings of the natural aspects of the world like the lyrebird, the flannel flower and a kangaroo. These panels, which seem to be the last few panels of the ‘journey’ contain a harmonious and beautiful quality to them, as opposed to the chaos in other panels, which suggests that Whiteley is depicting nature in a positive light, almost serving as the answer to the chaos in the world.

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To very briefly summarise my experience witnessing William Blake’s engravings in person, I thought his engravings were magnificent and I couldn’t believe how old the engravings were and yet they were still in such good quality. I could definitely see how Blake depicted his own understanding of the Book of Job in his engravings and how he saw Job’s relationship with the divine in each plate. The quotes in these plates also compliment the visionary imagery in each plate.

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It was also great to see Blake’s artwork ‘Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrims’ a week after being lectured about it by Professor Paul Hardwick in week 6. This lecture helped me to understand the significance of Piers Plowman in the Blake’s artwork, as the Plowman was considered to be the ideal Christian in medieval England.

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Peer Review 1

https://vzengl200.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/excuse-me-reverend-dr-john-trusler-may-i-have-a-word-blog-1-due-27-8/

Hi Victoria,

This is a really informative entry! It’s concisely written, which is great, as this makes it more engaging to read. Your main points for why you don’t admire Trusler’s method of expressing his disagreement are clearly outlined, and was really interesting to read at the same time. I could also see your point of view in the letter because you weren’t just defending Blake’s work, you were also talking about Visionary Imagination in general, which was great. The only suggestion I have that might help improve this entry, is to try and see where you could break the lengthy paragraph into maybe two paragraphs. Other than that, this is a fantastic entry, so keep up the great work!

Blog 2 – Analysis of Patti Smith’s song ‘My Blakean Year’

CRITICAL: Take any of the songs that we explored today (Patti Smith and/or The Doors) and discuss how the song embodies a Blakean insight into human experience that is still relevant today.

 

 

Patti Smith’s song ‘My Blakean Year’ embodies the essence of Blake’s mission to find truth and experience fulfilment with all of one’s being. Smith repeatedly states: “In my Blakean year” to indicate that the year she learnt about Blake’s vision and experiences, she was able to expand her perception of the world around her, and experience similar sensations and states of mind. This is evident in the very first stanza when she says that she was heading: “Toward a mission yet unclear Advancing pole by pole”, indicating that she is on a journey to find fulfilment in her life and was deeply inspired by Blake, as she conveyed in the video above.

In the second stanza she purportedly considers a certain pathway in life as a: “road paved in gold”, compared with other pathways which is: “just a road”. In other words, it seems as though she considers Blake’s path in life to be the right one, hence: “gold”, as gold is usually associated with something that is highly valued. This could also be alluding to a biblical verse as ‘gold’ is sometimes used to describe heavenly surroundings in the Bible, and the Bible is of course repeatedly referenced in Blake’s literature and art.

The two stanzas seems to almost serve as a solution to some of the many issues that are relevant to the world today, and that solution is to: “Embrace all that you fear / For joy shall conquer all despair”. Here, one can see that Smith is emphasising the importance of letting go of things that hold you back, and to not let fear or worry weigh you down, hence the symbolism in: “So throw off your stupid cloak”. The “cloak” perhaps symbolises the fear and worry she is addressing, and to therefore let go of these fears and worries, strip away the inessential, and free oneself.

Blog 1 – Sunflower Sutra

CRITICAL: Can you summarize your sense of what the core of Ginsberg’s vision of Blake is in his “Sunflower Sutra”?

Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Sunflower Sutra” contains various themes that explore humanity at its core, as it emphasises what humans need in their lives. I believe that this poem is all about the need to have freedom and balance in one’s life, as well as the importance of discovering the beauty, miraculousness, and our connection to nature.

If you look further into the biographical context of this poem, one can see how Ginsberg wrote this poem as a personal response to society’s lack of appreciation and care for the environment, as he describes the American landscape being torn away by society such as tree clearing and war. It’s important to note that this poem was written right after World War II and at the start of the Cold War. This is evident when Ginsbern describes the atmosphere: “skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack”. The word choice of “machinery” and “tincans” purportedly alludes to a war torn atmosphere. In contrast, he repeatedly implements the notion of the sunflower, as a means to provide light in the midst of darkness for society, as the word “sunflower” offer connotations of positivity, peace, and brightness.

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