Paterson

by William Carlos Williams

Paper Book, 1992

Status

Available

Genres

Publication

New York : New Directions Pub. Corp., 1992.

Description

Long recognized as a masterpiece of modern American poetry, WIlliam Carlos Williams' Paterson is one man's testament and vision, "a humanist manifesto enacted in five books, a grammar to help us life" (Denis Donoghue).

User reviews

LibraryThing member DLPatterson
A splendidly long poem, with (sometimes annoying, but more often fascinating) prose interjections. It's the variable foot--whatever it is--that counts. Just remember:

"I never told you to read it.
let erlone REread it. I didn't
say it wuz ! ! henjoyable readin."

Although, much of it is, in truth, quite henjoyable. Hell, now I'm doing it. What was it with some of the modernists--Pound and Williams especially, I think--and puttin on the dialect?
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LibraryThing member keylawk
A book length poem. Complicated. It is about a city or a man, or an embodiment, or a combination of the public as autobiography. Williams cared about people, and the oppressed. (For example, "Indians" [102], and an endless parade of suffering women.) Layered understandings -- "man in himself is a city". Lots of exclamation points. Still, or besides, he also stooped, really stooped, to the idiocy some "artistes" -- perhaps most of the professionals, driven by the fear of actually laboring in the vineyards where actual tomatoes or pumpkins, or hollow gourds, grow -- resort, perhaps excusably. For example [224], he blithers about "poetry" and drops meaningless names [222]. These are "points" about ideas with no point.… (more)
LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
This was difficult certainly, but also beautiful. The images here were memorable and often touching, with fascinating artifacts such as letters and news pieces scattered throughout. I have no doubt that this book is one of the reasons that some people hate poetry, because it is frustrating at many points, but I think it's also worthwhile. It's one I'm going to have to go back and reread in full a few months from now. I should say that some of my classmates found this extremely sexist at points, but for the most part I simply disagreed with that assessment. For me, this is a journey searching for identity, particularly in line with the artist. I enjoyed it verymuch, though I feel Williams should have made it a bit more reader-friendly overall.… (more)
LibraryThing member jonfaith
We know nothing and can know nothing
but the dance, to dance to a measure
contrapuntally,
Satyrically, the tragic foot.


Listen to me as an Everyman. Humble, belabored with a smile and some snark amidst the hopeless. I rise eager each morning, maybe a little fuzzy but poised. I truly lack ambition beyond my wife, my books and my job. Please shield me, my flabby exterior.

A man is indeed a city, and for the poet there are no ideas but in things

I have lived in a smallish river town most of my life. Louisville is just across the bridge. Our falls though mentioned in Paterson are empty of laurels. I can't strive to the Eternal in the night, the labor of the day keeps me weedy---and thirsty. This was a triumph, unexpected to a degree. Paterson is an admixture of form, a blurring of geology, human folly and the gleam of the moment. Consider me enriched.
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