Ishion Hutchinson (poet and Associate Professor, Department of English, Cornell University) and Leah Mirahkor (Lecturer in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and the Program in American Studies, Yale University) discuss the poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake’s illustrations of religious and mythological subjects. Taking together Blake’s aesthetic and lyric form, Hutchinson examines how they enact a poetics of contrariness vital to our contemporary moment.
Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Ishion Hutchinson is the author of two poetry collections: House of Lords and Commons (2016) and Far District (2010). His poems consider questions of empire and environment, and the problem of what it means to be a finite, mortal creature in a finite, mortal world, blessed and cursed, remembered and remembering. Hutchison has received numerous awards and honors, including a Windham-Campbell Literature Prize (2019), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), a National Book Critics Circle Award (2016), and a Whiting Award (2013).
Leah Mirakhor teaches in the Program in Ethnicity, Race and Migration. Her essays on twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglophone literature and visual culture have appeared in the African American Review, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Bookforum, Artforum, the Yale Review, the James Baldwin Review, the Los Angeles Times, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others.