William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Williard

“William Blake’s Inn – Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travellers” written by Nancy Willliard and illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen is simply charming.  It is an homage to William Blake in words and images.  Nancy Williard’s poems remind me more of Ogden Nash than Blake, but they share Blake’s fantastical imagery.  The Inn is inhabited by dragons, angels, bears and the King of Cats, no less:

The tiger is a recurring motif, for obvious reasons.  Just look at this mischievous beast:

The poems describe an imaginary Inn owned by “Engraver, Poet and Painter” William Blake.  Among other things, the inn contains “Two patient angels”  who “wash and shake his featherbeds”  and cause snow to fall for the use of the snowman-building children of the neighbourhood.  Also:

Two mighty dragons brew and bake

and many are the loaves they’ve burned

and many are the spits they’ve turned

and many those who stop and break

their joyful bread with William Blake.

There are many charming poems, including one about the King of Cats’ breakfast.  “Roast me a Wren to start with”  says the King of Cats:

I particularly liked this friendly cow, who slept on a cloud.  Here she is getting her breakfast from William Blake himself:

The tiger makes his appearance on many pages.  Here is, “toasting his toes” in front of a fire with Blake, his housekeeper and several small friends:

I think this may be my favourite of the Provenson’s works.  The poetry and images work together so nicely.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. chrysallidis
    May 09, 2011 @ 21:44:05

    they are quite amazing. beautiful!

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