Interesting article by former US poet laureate Robert Pinsky on THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER-two poems by William Blake http://www.slate.com/id/2266228/….I’ve written about Blake before here
Much of William Blake’s poetry is contrast between the reality of what he sees and his religious or otherworldly inspired imagery which I theorize is the result of mental illness….I think William Blake’s writings show many of the signs of someone who suffered from some type of schizophrenia or other mental disorder that damages perception and produces hallucinations.
You can see that in the first CHIMNEY SWEEPER poem….He starts by talking about the hard scrabble child labor life of the chimney sweep and then switches into dreams of angels and freedom….Although both of these poems are much more in the “real” world then much of his other work.
Great poetry is often a mix of the real and the illusionary….A description of something using tools like metaphor working jointly with bold, hallucinatory language-That which makes it poetry to begin with!
Not a huge Blake fan but do respect and recognize his influence in the way he melded these two modes of expression in his work.