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Paterson (Revised Edition) (New Directions Paperback 806 806) Paperback – April 17, 1995


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Paterson (Revised Edition) (New Directions Paperback 806 806) + The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Vol. 1: 1909-1939 + The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Vol. 2: 1939-1962
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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperback 806 806
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; Revised Edition edition (April 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081121298X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811212984
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its epic scope, Paterson is often chosen by nonspecialists, such as the social critic Robert Coles, as the way in to a discovery of Williams' exuberant and humane career as a poet. The going is made easier and the way is clarified by this invaluable new edition, for in it Williams' achievement can be seen in its proper context. His social concern, for instance, in contrast to that of other modernists, becomes more apparent. Misprints have been corrected, fugitive verses or sources have been tracked down, tab spaces have been restored and the crowded typography of recent editions has been opened up. Textual notes are thorough. We learn, for instance, that Williams changed the phrase "seldom dig" in a letter of Allen Ginsberg's excerpted here to "seldom did," probably because the older poet did not know the Beat usage. Williams at his strongest is as good an American poet as there has been; still, it must be noted that not all of the five books of Paterson (plus fragments of a sixth) are up to that level. Yet, with this edition, the important project of re-editing Williams' poetry is skillfully completed. The work of an experimental master is laid out in a definitive edition.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

With this appearance of his magnum opus, the publisher's laudable project of republishing Williams's poetic oeuvre in modern scholarly editions has been completed. The high quality of the two volumes of Collected Poems ( LJ 7/88; LJ 10/86) is replicated here. MacGowan's fine edition sorts out the poem's complicated textual history. His notes will be most useful to future readers, students, and scholars, as they elucidate difficulties and clarify the provenance of the many prose excerpts from various sources included in this unique work. A modernist classic, Paterson is a nativist's answer to the cosmopolitan Pound and Eliot, "a reply to Greek and Latin with the bare hands." By exploring the local, Williams sought to descry the universal and to find in city and landscape symbolic analogues for the essential issues of human life. Highly recommended.
- Frank J. Lepkowski, Oakland Univ., Rochester, Mich.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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A number 1 in American poetic history and development!
P. Gallagher
You will find a heart of darkness in this journey and some redemption of humanity that flows outward from Paterson to the larger United States.
Andre Stipanovic
I'm sorry to report that I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped.
J. Ott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Duane Mulholland on October 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Paterson is a book-length poem that tells you everything you need to know about America. If it appears complex and impenetrable then you need to put the thing down for a day or two, and then try again, because this is really a joy, there's nothing impenetrable about it! Read it when you really have some time to think and skip the commentary (by this I mean read it first without consulting literary criticism, I do not mean that you should ignore any part of the work itself). This poet will teach you that literary forms are just tools and that what really matters is whether the writer has insight and is able to communicate it in the necessary way. This book is worth your precious time.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I had forgotten until I finished reading this poem this morning (on a train rolling through Newark, New Jersey) just how great an achievement this is.
If you haven't read it. Do it now. If you only read it when you were young, then read it as an adult. You'll be amazed at what you missed. I was.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andre Stipanovic on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
WCW's Paterson has kept me in touch with my home state even though I now live 1500 miles away. Williams' expert poetic expression can be delicate and harsh without ever being crass or fragile. Seeking to find a concrete language to express abstract feelings makes this a heroic effort indeed. Who is the epic hero? The average person living in a diverse landscape of city, suburbs, and country which New Jersey easily contains in close proximity. Under all of it are layers of history, buried with partial secrets and partial revelations. Flowing through it is the Passaic River, whose source begins in the woods of New Jersey close to where I was born. As it flows past the Revolutionary War camps in Jockey Hollow near Morristown, it "tells" of the Native American and European American settlers. Through the Great Swamp we see more settlers clearing land for larger farms. Along the Watchung valley, mills, inns and more settlements until the river falls and crashes in Paterson, where industry springs up, fed by spring water. Further down river, a metropolis hardly imaginable 100, much less 200 years earlier practically smothers the river, which finally reaches the sea to cleanse itself in the vast ocean. How does this parallel human existence? Read it and explore it yourself. You will find a heart of darkness in this journey and some redemption of humanity that flows outward from Paterson to the larger United States. I am on my third reading as I write this.
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22 of 34 people found the following review helpful By J. Ott VINE VOICE on August 26, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even for a fan of WCW like myself, this is a tough one to read. Williams is still Williams, but not the Williams of the brevity of "This is just to say". Only die-hard fans should probably attempt this rambling modern epic. Excerpts of the good stuff are readily available, and I recommend them to fans of THE SELECTED POEMS. The closest thing I can compare PATERSON to, in terms of structure and method, is Ezra Pound's CANTOS: a collage of words, formidably difficult to understand, and also unfinished.
Many reviewers here objected to the prose passages, which contain letters or stories of historical interest about Paterson and its environs. I found the prose the most interesting part-- probably because it was in plain English. The notes in the back of this latest edition are invaluable in making sense of the sources of the prose and other references.
I've re-read PATERSON and also read some scholarly books on it since I last reviewed it and I still haven't changed my opinion. Late Williams is just too avant-garde for my tastes, dabbling as he did in "field theory" with Charles Olson and the 'tri-verse stanza' -- informal formal verse. The structure of PATERSON is not narrative, no matter how much Williams said otherwise.
Williams says that Paterson is both "a city and a man." Paterson is just a book, one with some good parts and some intentionally baffling parts. I'm sorry to report that I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped.
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The is book is brilliant, highly charged, deeply felt, profound, funny. Williams was a pediatrician and General Practitioner who lived and worked in Paterson, New Jersey. So this is very gritty poetry, a million miles away from academic poetry. It (and Williams' work in general) is a guide for surviving the general madness.

Williams writes (Book II, Page 106):

"What is there to say? save that
beauty is unheeded - tho' for saleand
bought glibly enough
But it is true, they fear
it more than they death, beauty is feared
more than death, more than they fear death."
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By Julia Murray on March 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though this poem has rough edges and places of some boredom, there is so much that it addresses in beautiful and creative language that no one will regret buying it.

This book is a window on the world of a time and place and a writer that is ineffable and full of joy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an American Classic.
The masterwork of a great 20th century American poet. William Carlos Williams found a sweeping and innovative poetic form to convey the rich variety of American existence.
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