I arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, yesterday to sing, play, and/or talk about Blake in three venues: the McNally Robinson Bookstore, the CSECS conference (hosted by the University of Manitoba), and the Academy Bar. I started out earlier this evening at the bookstore, where I had a fine time speaking and performing–in true Miltonic and Blakean style–for an audience fit though few. Folks were kind and conversation was stimulating. Before leaving, I spent the CD money I made on a book of haiku by Buson, a 2008 calendar of gorgeous Blake watercolours, and a small box of Hallowe’en bandaids sporting images like bats and skulls on them.
On Thursday I’m scheduled to present a little paper entitled ”Nature, Ideology, and the Prohibiton of Pleasure in Blake’s Songs” at the CSECS (Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies) conference, which is being held at The Inn at the Forks near where the Assiniboine and Red rivers meet. On Friday evening at 9:00 I’ll be performing with fabulous Sahra Featherstone at St. Boniface University College as part of the formal program for the CSECS conference. During the concert–which is free and open to the public–I’ll show slides of Blake’s beautiful engraved and watercoloured plates, combining poetry, music, and visual art in a multi-media presentation of songs from the CD. Finally, on Saturday night starting at 8:00, I’ll be performing with Sahra and Winnipeg singer/songwriter Jeremy Proctor at the Academy Bar (cover charge $8.00). A number of Blake’s songs will be on the playlist at this gig, plus a few of my own songs as well–not to mention lots of great music by Sahra and Jeremy. It’s great to be here in Winnipeg.