The Tyger by William Blake

Joshua Casoni may not have gotten the title or all the words quite right, but this is still the most imaginative video interpretation I’ve seen of the poem. Doug Toomer stars at the homeless man. Casoni was assisted by Jake Doty on camera and sound.


  1. Reply
    michelle 7 December, 2009

    It’s awesome! (

    I’m not concerned about that concern — sorry for saying this but… that’s for heartless poshlits. Would Shakespeare be concerned with that? I’m thinking of his “quartos” — Well, that’s more or less it! — hahahah, Sacriledge, says the poshlit, but Shakespeare wouldn’t say that, I bet!), really.

    I think it’s loyal, true. His translation to his language. What more could art or Blake ambition? Moving people deep inside across centuries.

    I like the way he says the sentences, and various other things I cannot explain just now!

    I’m not sure about the music, though I understand it’s very well designed and it keeps great company.

  2. Reply
    michelle 8 December, 2009

    Hey, re-reading my comment, I thought — it might sound critical or insulting? But I didn’t intend that. You see, over here, that’s a typical thing from university people who — at times, I feel — hate poetry, deep down! :) You probably said that just out of a love to the original poem, I understand. And my point was that you’re right in publishing it here, because it is a piece of art — moving and in creative languages!

  3. Reply
    Dave Bonta 8 December, 2009

    I pointed out the inaccuracies simply to fend off potential critics, by saying I didn’t think they mattered. Never heard the term “poshlit” before.

  4. Reply
    michelle 9 December, 2009

    Yes, hahah, sure! It’s good to protect it! I made the term up! I’m always making words up! :)

    Today I wrote a minisaga on this poem (BUT PEOPLE DON’T READ IT TILL YOU’VE ENJOYED THE POEM — IT’S A SPOILER!), out of gratitude! But also as a little exercise. I’d like to post some comments (in case the author ever reads them, and is intersted) but I never seem to find the time! Rushing again!

    Tyger, Tyger (burning bright in the forest of the night)

    The night is of a velvety dark blue because it has been raining and there is a black man, a sad orange tiger, begging on the sad cold pavement. With the coins, he buys a teddy for a girl passing by, who cries for it. I feel lonely and connected.

  5. Reply
    michelle 9 December, 2009

    Oops, instead of “cries” perhaps I should say “craves”…

  6. Reply
    michelle 9 December, 2009

    About the music
    The music is beautiful, and it does contribute to the create moments of intensity, in coordination with other elements. What I’m not sure about is that it is — how can I explain it — very movie-like, very BIG, just in certain moments, because in others it’s like in silent movies. When it’s BIG it feels more like big movies, and in a sense I feel I wouldn’t mind it being “more primitive”?
    I like the fact that at times it sounds like in silent movies, and that the image is in color. It wouldn’t have been a good idea to have it in black and white, I think, because the color, with that silent-movie kind of music, creates, I feel, a powerful effect — it’s distant but it’s totally actual (familiar).

    • Reply
      Dave Bonta 9 December, 2009

      Yeah, it might not’ve been my choice of music either — I would’ve preferred something bleaker and more minimalist — but i don’t think it’s too distracting, either. Believe me, I’ve run across plenty of otherwise decent poetry videos which I haven’t posted here simply because they used some annoyingly cliched piece of classical music as a soundtrack.

  7. Reply
    michelle 9 December, 2009

    We’ve posted the video on a little blog we have at the state-run language school where I work. And well, I might continue posting there better! Thanks to all! :)

  8. Reply
    michelle 9 December, 2009

    Just realized!!!

    It’s not a teddy, of course! How could I have missed it!!! It’s a lamb!!!! OHMY! hahahah…

    So the minisaga would need to be changed to…

    Tyger, tyger (burning bright in the forests of the night)

    The night is of a velvety dark blue because it has been raining. There is a black man, a sad orange tiger, begging on the sad cold pavement. With the coins, he buys a cuddly lamb for a girl passing by, craving for sweet caress. I feel lonely and connected.

    • Reply
      Dave Bonta 9 December, 2009

      Yeah, you have to watch this several times to figure it all out (which is great — people will have the poem half memorized by then). This reminds me of some of the more elaborate music videos that the American cable channel MTV used to play back in the 80s: little films with stories quite different from, yet somehow connected to, the poem.

      It’s very touching the way this homeless alcoholic spends all his spare money on a gift for the one person who is friendly to him. Made me cry. I think Blake would’ve loved it.

      • Reply
        michelle 10 December, 2009

        Yes, me too. I totally agree with all you say.
        Wouldn’t it be something if we could have a drink with them all? hahahah…

  9. Reply
    michelle 10 December, 2009

    In Belgium — for the beer and the chocolate! Hurray for Belgians!
    Hi, Willies! How d’you like this beer?
    Let’s do something on the Net! Let’s bust the world with Art and Freedom! What a spree!

    • Reply
      michelle 10 December, 2009

      Oops, of course I’m picturing the people involved in the video poem there, too! :D I think I’d better stop this! :D But this is my only celebration (lack of time!) for the most important day in the year: today! Human Rights Day!
      A beer in Belgium with you all in the company of Blake and Shakespeare on Human Rights Day!

      • Reply
        Dave Bonta 10 December, 2009

        Cheers, Michelle.

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