The Seeds of the ‘Tyger Tyger Writing Challenge’ lie in a
remarkable outreach event at London Zoo in October 2014, when
children from the charity Kids Company were invited by the Blake
Society to read out Blake’s poem The Tyger in front of an actual
tiger. This proved to be such a successful and thought-provoking
event that the Society decided to launch a special writing challenge,
open to schools and young people from around the UK, to
encourage all aspiring and daring young poets under the age of 25
to write a poem on the theme of the tiger, and what it means to us
today.

The selection of poems in this booklet are the fruit and
flowering of that project, a wonderfully diverse and imaginative
collection of words, thoughts, and images that collectively frame a
living ‘snapshot’ of the tiger in the twenty-first century.
Blake’s original poem first appeared in his Songs of
Innocence and of Experience, a work that fused themes of
childhood, social distress, poetry, trauma, and freedom – subjects
that in fact recur and resonate in many of the poems in this present
collection. The living tiger appears as many things to many people –
as Blake himself noted, “Every Eye Sees differently. As the Eye,
Such the Object”. Moreover, how we perceive and attend to the
world, as modern neuroscience now suggests, actually alters the
nature of the world that we attend to.

These poems are both a record of how children and young
people perceive the world and an embodiment of their sense of
relationship to it. Blake’s poem asks challenging questions about
this relationship and invites us to see: not only to look at the world,
but to look at how we look at the world. This opens up vision to
where it properly resides: within our imaginations, which is where
“the forests of the night” ultimately are rooted.

So, with the help of Blake and his tyger as our guide, I invite
you to enter in and explore the extraordinary inner worlds that these
poems so powerfully and beautifully capture and embody.

Rod Tweedy,
Secretary, Blake Society

To download this free booklet (11Mb pdf) please click:
TYGER TYGER