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Paterson (1963)

by William Carlos Williams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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841518,074 (3.91)17
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).

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» See also 17 mentions

English (4)  Spanish (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 4 of 4
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. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
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. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Sep 6, 2008 |
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.
  keylawk | May 5, 2007 |
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? ( )
  DLPatterson | Jun 14, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Carlos Williamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rizzardi, AlfredoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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