William Blake wrote about two godlike characters that rule the world. On the one hand there was Urizen, the principle of reason and law. He’s pictured with a long white beard and a pair of compasses, creating the world by measuring it. On the other hand there is Los, the principle of imagination.
Reason is always trying to quantify and explain imagination, while imagination attempts to undermine, challenge and ridicule reason, seeking to free us from the domination of the intellect with its obsessive need to count and measure everything in order to understand it. The contest between these two principles is almost like the Japanese game of Go where white tries to surround black which in its turn is trying to surround white.
The poem sequence ‘Lost in Creation’ takes this rivalry, excises it from Blake’s mythological meanderings and brings it up to date, filtering it through modernism, adding in counting games, liturgical rant and the anachronistic jamming of modern science against mediaeval mysticism. Historical and fictional characters emerge, among whom the Italian mathematician, Fibonacci; Irish poet Taliesin; Greek explorer Ulysses; the red king from ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’, a holocaust victim, an architect, an ancient Egyptian priest, a mediaeval merchant and a space traveller. Each has their story, acting as guides on this journey into the unknown.
There’s a quote by New England philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson that sits on the title page, “We want the exact and the vast; we want our dreams, and our mathematics.” This prompts the questions that the poem explores. Who wins, reason or imagination? Or is the greater challenge for each to find its place in ourselves and in the world?
Lost in Creation will soon be available to download on Amazon to read on your kindle or tablet.
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