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Paterson

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Paterson Cover

 

Staff Pick

Literary critic Marjorie Perloff once made the claim that when the history of free verse is written, William Carlos Williams will be a primary figure. Such were the words that turned my attention back to Williams. But it wasn't until a friend sent me a passage from Paterson: Book II "Sunday in the Park" that I began to truly appreciate Williams's range and power. Paterson is a long poem set in Paterson, New Jersey, and was originally published as five separate books over a decade. Later, such a literary landmark would make an impact on the poetry and poetics of Charles Olsen's Maximus Poems and related branches of contemporary American poetry/poetics. Paterson's charm is in the juxtaposition of different literary elements — from news accounts to long prose passages to sculpted verse sections. All the stuff of life is in Paterson: there are passages on the alienation and suffering caused by the lack of epistolary contact and communication and sections ripe with power struggles and longing. Moreover, that famous declaration "no ideas but in things" comes from the section "The Delineaments of the Giants" from Book I.

Here, a thought-provoking passage from Book II:

I asked him, What do you do?

He smiled patiently, The typical American question. In Europe they would ask, What are you doing? Or, What are you doing now?

What do I do? I listen, to the water falling. (No sound of it here but with the wind!) This is my entire occupation.


Recommended by K.P., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Paterson is both a place--the New Jersey city in whom the person (the poet's own life) and the public (the history of the region) are combined. Originally four books (published individually between 1946 and 1951), the structure of Paterson (in Dr. Williams' words) "follows the course of teh Passaic River" from above the great falls to its entrance into the sea. The unexpected Book Five, published in 1958, affirms the triumphant life of the imagination, in spite of age and death. This revised edition has been meticulously re-edited by Christopher MacGowan, who has supplied a wealth of notes and explanatory material.

Synopsis:

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).

Synopsis:

'Paterson is Whitman's America, grown pathetic and tragic, brutalized by inequality, disorganized by industrial chaos, and faced with annihilation. No poet has written of it with such a combination of brilliance, sympathy, and experience, with such alertness and energy.' - Robert Lowell

About the Author

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). At the same time as maintaining a popular medical practice, he became a prolific poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Experimenting with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh--and singularly American--poetics, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780811212984
Editor:
Macgowan, Christopher
Author:
Macgowan, Christopher
Editor:
MacGowan, Christopher
Author:
Williams, William Carlos
Author:
MacGowan, Christopher
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Poetry (poetic works by one author)
Subject:
Paterson (N.J.)
Subject:
Paterson (N.J.) Poetry.
Subject:
Paterson
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2
Edition Description:
Revised Edition
Series Volume:
806
Publication Date:
19950417
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
328
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 0.9 in 0.77 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » American » African American

Paterson New Trade Paper
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$14.41 In Stock
Product details 328 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811212984 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Literary critic Marjorie Perloff once made the claim that when the history of free verse is written, William Carlos Williams will be a primary figure. Such were the words that turned my attention back to Williams. But it wasn't until a friend sent me a passage from Paterson: Book II "Sunday in the Park" that I began to truly appreciate Williams's range and power. Paterson is a long poem set in Paterson, New Jersey, and was originally published as five separate books over a decade. Later, such a literary landmark would make an impact on the poetry and poetics of Charles Olsen's Maximus Poems and related branches of contemporary American poetry/poetics. Paterson's charm is in the juxtaposition of different literary elements — from news accounts to long prose passages to sculpted verse sections. All the stuff of life is in Paterson: there are passages on the alienation and suffering caused by the lack of epistolary contact and communication and sections ripe with power struggles and longing. Moreover, that famous declaration "no ideas but in things" comes from the section "The Delineaments of the Giants" from Book I.

Here, a thought-provoking passage from Book II:

I asked him, What do you do?

He smiled patiently, The typical American question. In Europe they would ask, What are you doing? Or, What are you doing now?

What do I do? I listen, to the water falling. (No sound of it here but with the wind!) This is my entire occupation.

"Synopsis" by , 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).
"Synopsis" by , 'Paterson is Whitman's America, grown pathetic and tragic, brutalized by inequality, disorganized by industrial chaos, and faced with annihilation. No poet has written of it with such a combination of brilliance, sympathy, and experience, with such alertness and energy.' - Robert Lowell
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