The Wild Children of William Blake
In the nearly fifty essays collected in The Wild Children of William Blake, John Yau explores the careers of a wide range of poets and artists who are, like the nineteenth century poet, dissenters from consensus—Wallace Berman, Alfred
Starr Hamilton, Jay DeFeo, Hilma af Klint, Katherine Bradford, Barbara Takenaga, Forrest Bess, Emmet Gowin, Sophia Al-Maria, and Simon Gouverneur, to name but a few.
Yau locates and defines a shared sensibility among his subjects whose work is often set at an oblique angle to the larger culture. He probes the reasons for this stance and its aesthetic consequences and, most provocatively, inspects the how and why behind the impulse to deflect their importance. For instance, he asserts that Jay DeFeo’s
masterwork, The Rose, “calls many assumptions into question and challenges canonical thinking about what constitutes a major achievement in postwar art.”
This questioning marks each essay in the collection, a volume that sets out to reorder, if not outright dismantle, the exclusionary hierarchies that have dominated cultural discourse for decades. Blake’s “wild children” are alive and well, and in Yau’s nimble, intelligent prose their dissonance is exactingly parsed and joyously celebrated.
white paper | 6″ x 9″ | 264 pgs. | ISBN: 978-157027-324-7 | $15.00 | release date: July 1, 2017