William Blake has always fascinated me as a poet and also as a man. He was quite strange, but his writing is incredible: it’s powerful, it has a message, and yet it sounds so good. That said, I haven’t read much Blake poetry since my years in college and I’m certainly out of practice in literary and poetic criticism in general.
My Business Is To Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing by Eric G. Wilson (published May 2001 by University of Iowa Press) is partly an homage to the life of William Blake, partly an exercise in literary criticism of Blake’s writing and messages, and partly a manual in how to apply Blake’s literary approach in successfully creating our own beautiful writing. I don’t consider myself either an expert on Blake or a creative writer but I enjoyed the insights into the creative process. Mr Wilson’s short essays on various aspects of the writing process, as related to William Blake’s own processes, were wonderfully written and poetic as themselves even apart from the information they share.
I began this book almost immediately after receiving it. Then I got sick with the early stages of pregnancy and put it aside for a few months. I finally finished it. While I enjoyed it, I believe that an ambitious study of Blake’s poetry (I have the Norton Critical Edition of his works waiting to be studied) will help me better appreciate Mr. Wilson’s masterpiece of Blake veneration. That said, even for those not primarily interested in Blake, there are some good nuggets of wisdom in this book. For those who are writers, you may find some inspiration from Mr. Wilson’s essays on creativity.
For me, this is a very unsatisfactory review of a book that was well done. I admit that because of my state (i.e., being sick for months) and because I didn’t revisit the Blake poetry as I had intended, I was not ready to read My Business Is to Create. But I do intend to revisit it along with Blake’s poetry at a more opportune time in my life. As I said, it’s wonderfully written and does a great job of bring the creative process, as the master artist William Blake did, to life.
I received a complimentary copy of My Business Is to Create from the publisher via LibraryThing EarlyReviewers in exchange for a review.