21. October 2014 · Comments Off on Tyger Tiger · Categories: Society News

Tyger Tiger Poetry Challenge 

We are experimenting with a pilot project on the role of education, creativity and empowerment. Last year the Society took a group of disadvantaged children to the London Zoo to read Blake’s Tyger to an actual tiger! We hope their lives will be transformed! Leaping forward, we are now inviting anyone under the age of 25 to transpose The Tyger into the language of their own lives and create a poem. Entry is free, the closing date is 31 March, and a selection of the poems will be published online on 29th July – World Tiger Day!

A little background …

In 2014 the Blake Society engaged in an outreach project in order to further the understanding of Blake among children… and tygers.

On 4 October, a fine rainy Saturday, we accompanied a group of children from the charity Kids Company on a visit to Tiger Territory at London Zoo, where they showed to Jae Jae, the imposing Sumatran male tiger, their own version of Blake’s illuminated “The Tyger”, then went on to recite the whole poem, undercover of the rain, to female Melati, who listened calmly, snugged against her three cubs.

Our aim was to invite children on a journey through poetry as an adventure of the Imagination, believing that on making a gift of the poem to the creatures that burn bright, they might find in them some reflection of themselves: beautiful, fierce and vulnerable.

It was a moving, wet and fun day that we hope the children involved, and the tygers, will always remember.

David Vinall accompanied us and produced a video so that we could share the experience with you, and the members of the Blake Society. You can watch it by clicking on the link below:


Help re-make Blake’s Tyger for the 21st Century!

The Blake Society is inviting all aspiring and daring young poets to frame a poem about Blake’s tiger and its relevance to today. Writers might like to explore for example what meeting the tiger meant to the children at Kids Company – how it might affect them as either a symbol of survival and resilience, or perhaps as the form of their anxieties, anger, and energy.  Or you could write about any aspect of the 21st Century Tiger – now both an endangered and protected animal and yet one that still raises questions about what sort of world throws up both predators and protectors, and how something so beautiful can also be so deadly.

A selection of the entries will be collated in a special ‘Tyger’ booklet that will appear on the Blake Society website (if you do not want your name, or poem, to appear on this publication please let us know). Blake’s poem about the tiger was also about the act of creation itself: by contributing to ‘Tyger Tiger’ you will also be helping to re-shape and forge a new form for the Tiger for the 21st Century!
For more information and ideas about Kids Company please see hereThe London Zoo’s tiger page is also an excellent starting-point to learn more about these powerful, enigmatic and “fearful” creatures. And for an excellent analysis of the text and commentaries, see this webpage.
Entrants must be 25 or under, and can submit as many poems as they like. The closing date for submissions is 31 March 2015 and the booklet will be announced on 29th July 2015, World Tiger Day. Please send all poems and enquiries to: secretary@blakesociety.org
Good luck!
One dared seize the fire
One of our Trustees, Rod Tweedy, author of The God of the Left Hemisphere, caught the fire by making a visual and poetic incursion into the creative forge itself. The result was Tiger DNA, that you can read here:
To support the campaign for Blake Cottage please visit:

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