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June Update June 23rd, 2008

Now that the summer solstice has come and gone, I am gearing up for a busy couple of weeks on the road.  My first stop, after a night in Philadelphia, will be at Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania, where I will be presenting a conference paper on Blake’s poem “The Garden of Love.”  Contesting the common argument that Blake detested the natural world, I will discuss the environmental implications of Blake’s critique of sensual and sexual repression.  It is well known that Blake was a champion of the naked human body–which he dubbed “The Human Form Divine”–and that he imagined “the doors of perception” opening via “the improvement of sensual pleasure” and the gratification of sexual desire.  In my paper–an expanded version of which is slated for publication in a book entitled Romantic Pleasure–I will demonstrate that Blake’s celebration of human sensual expression entails a positive evaluation of material embodiment that has important implications for the ways in which we value the natural world in general.  Lucky for me, this conference will be attended by fellow members of “The Mongrel Dogs,” so there will be plenty of music and beer during the evenings.  After the conference, I will stop in Toronto to work on final revisions for my book Romantic Ecologies, which will be published in 2009 by McGill-Queen’s University Press.  Even better, during my time in Toronto I will also be visiting “Studio A” at Canterbury Music to record live bed-tracks for my new CD.  The opportunity to work again with inspired musicians like Sahra Featherstone, Jason Fowler, and Joe Phillips is most exciting–I can hardly wait.  Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this recording project, which I plan to release in early 2009–if not sooner.

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