Literary experts pay tribute to Felpham poet

Rachel Searle, in blue, with other supporters of the Big Blake Project
Rachel Searle, in blue, with other supporters of the Big Blake Project

WILLIAM Blake fans packed the church just yards from his Felpham cottage for a special evening dedicated to the poet and visionary.

The occasion at St Mary’s Church raised more than £400 to help to buy the cottage where the words which became Jerusalem were written and was a unique event.

Organiser Rachel Searle, the founder of the Big Blake Project, said: “The line-up was amazing, the event exceeded our high expectations, showing people how accessible Blake and how inspiring Blake can be. Also like Blake, the Big Blake Project aims to prove that Felpham is propriotious to the arts.”

The evening was started by novelist and poet Richard Skinner, the director of fiction at the Faber Academy. He talked about Blake’s important and shared some of his Blake-inspired poems and those of Ian Duhig, who was absent because of a fall.

Martin Malone captivated the audience with his poems while Dr Barry Raebeck came from New York to inform and amuse the audience with his tales of Blake in Felpham.

Personal accounts from Nuala Casey, singer and thriller writer, and Rowan Coleman, author of The Memory Book, told how Blake had influenced their novels.

Tobias Churton gripped the audience with his account of Blake’s trial for treason and how his Felpham neighbours had saved him.

The evening also saw the launch of a bespoke book of 28 original poems inspired by Blake, The Ecchoing Green.

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