Customer Reviews: Paterson (Revised Edition) (New Directions Paperback 806 806)
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on October 29, 2005
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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on December 12, 1997
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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on May 4, 2014
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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on April 11, 2013
Speak better, live better than the crowd, move along at full sail, kiss the babies, wink the eye, lay about the grassy lawns reading Paterson, till dusk closes your lids firm and enters a new dream, be effective all you can, be rewarded with the common wildflower at sway in the open field and this fine book at your chest as you sleep still.
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on September 2, 2013
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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on March 9, 2014
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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on January 24, 2014
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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on October 4, 2015
One of the most essential books of poetry written by one of our most essential poets. Does the word essential make you question you should own this book? Essential.
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on May 14, 2003
Williams's Paterson is a long poem. Williams originally intended the poem to be published In five separate books which it was between 1946 and 1958. The poem has been made availabe in one complete volume. In the poem Dr Williams compares his life to the flowing course of the Passaic River; especially its waterfalls. The poem is quite lengthly but well worth the read. I think that the poem Paterson is Williams's signature work. I also recommend Williams's Selected Essays & Selected Poems.
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on December 14, 2008
Williams' "Paterson" is the long poem that brought William Carlos Williams into the American Poetic spotlight. This work illustrated Williams' ability to become a true myth-maker, and placed him in the same circle of poets that Pound, Eliot, and Whitman belonged to. I strongly recommend any poetry lover, or student of American literature, to read this text! It is amazing to see how Williams uses historical figures of local American communities, and letters from other poets to develop tone, satire, and epic scope, all while using the "Common language" of the "American idiom." A number 1 in American poetic history and development!
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