Global Blake
Global Blake: In Conversation with Tanja Bakić
The only two European schools of Graveyard poetry existed in England and in Serbia. Tanja Bakić explores the relations between the two via the work of William Blake.

Date and time:
Fri, 27 May 2022 13:00 – 14:00 BST

Location: Online event

The only two European schools of Graveyard poetry existed in England and in Serbia. But unlike in England, where the Graveyard poets were the subject of the critical discuss, it was not the case in Serbia, whose Graveyard poetry still has not gained any serious public or critical attention, especially when it comes to its relations with the English Graveyard School. The aim of this research is to speak more about those possible connections.

English Graveyard Poetry was translated into Serbian and published in magazines not through the original English, but through its German translations. That’s the poetry which Blake designed or illustrated and which the Serbian Graveyard poets may have read. It was in 2015 that the Blair edition featuring Blake’s design first appeared in Serbia. Simultaneously, it was the first time in Serbia that Blake was approached solely as an artist, and not as a poet, i. e. not as the author of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790) or Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789) – works he was mainly recognised for there. It is obvious that with this Serbian edition, Blake the poet has been transfigured into Blake the designer. This is also the first time in Serbia that Blake’s reception has been fully presented in parallel with another figure (Robert Blair) – owing to which we are starting to consider Blake as an artist who illustrated and designed works by other authors, and not solely his own. 

Tanja Bakic is a poet from Montenegro who authored two poetry volumes inspired by Blake – The Sick Rose (2009) and Silken Shoes (2011). She has also translated Blake’s Pickering MS into Montenegrin, and the poetry of Byron, Marwell and H. D. Currently is pursuing her PhD thesis on Blake at the Univresity of Montenegro. She was a visiting researcher at Harvard. She authored a chapter at The Reception of William Blake in Europe (Bloomsbury, 2019) and an article for Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly (2022). She is also a pop music writer.