Friday, June 19, 2009

A Visit to William Blake's Inn

Author: Nancy Willard
Originally published : 1981 (Harcourt Brace, & Co.)
Length: 45 pages
Awards: Newbery Medal 1982
Personal Enjoyment Rating: 3/5
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 (15 Customer Reviews
GoodReads Rating: 96 ratings, 4.26 average rating

Inspired by her love for William Blake's poetry, Willard has written a collection of fanciful poems about an imaginary inn that Blake runs that is visited by some unusual characters, mostly animals.

These are meant to be read aloud, but I didn't. An appreciation for William Blake may enhance a reader's enjoyment, but I don't have one (yet). I did love the words and the rhythm of the poetry, but I must admit it was hard to focus on the subject of each poem. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "The Marmalade Man Makes a Dance to Mend Us," in which the animals are encouraged to come together because "Dancing starts where fighting ends." I could definitely sense the author's talent, but I didn't necessarily enjoy it. I do feel that a poem needs to be read multiple times to really get to the heart of it (flashbacks of AP English test prep), but I don't see myself taking the time, and I don't see children taking the time either. But they may simply enjoy the sound and rhythm of each poem, and that will be enough.
My recommendation: This collection is worth a peek if only to see if you like it. It's quick to read through, but I would definitely suggest reading it out loud.


  1. I love William Blake's poetry so I was looking forward to reaidng this! Sounds disappointing. I do like poetry, though, so maybe that makes all the difference.

  2. Rebecca,
    My guess is that you will appreciate it more than I did. I like poetry that has a theme or expresses something about life with the perfect arrangement of words. If this collection had that, I missed it. If you do read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

  3. When I left a comment on your entry on Goodreads the other day, I didn't realize these were poems based on Blake's poetry. I thought they were just adaptations for children. That probably makes a big difference. My husband actually got me interested in reading Blake's poetry. I've never been interested in poetry before.

  4. I'll have to try out reading some of Blake's poetry. I never read poetry now, but when I was "forced" to study it in high school, I really liked it.