In this installment, V. Penelope Pelizzon reads from William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” Pelizzon's first poetry collection, Nostos (Ohio University Press, 2000) won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s 2001 Norma Farber First Book Award. Other honors include a Discovery/The Nation Award, The Kenneth Rexroth Translation Award (for Umberto Saba’s poems from Italian), the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry.
William Blake, from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”
The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects
with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and
adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers,
mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their
enlarged & numerous senses could percieve.
And particularly they studied the genius of each
city & country. placing it under its mental deity.
Till a system was formed, which some took ad-
vantage of & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to
realize or abstract the mental deities from their
objects; thus began Priesthood.
Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.
And at length they pronouncd that the Gods
had orderd such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside
in the human breast.