Monday, June 19, 2006

Pat(t)erson: Two T's or One?

Day One
In search of the elusive Paterson--both the poem and the city--we find ourselves not in New Jersey but in Patterson, Georgia, about 40 miles north of the Okefenokee Swamp. Our special guest drifter, Clark Lunberry, has a good sense of the pith and essence, the quiddity and je ne sais qua of Paterson, yet has never been there. This Patterson was conveniently at hand, perhaps too convenient compared to the chaos of Paterson, NJ where the falls--once the unmanageable, excessive, flowing-matter against which the poet would fail to measure--is now a quaint vignette compared to its environs. Clark talked about how Williams at one point started to hate the poem and its failure. I found it hard to believe that Williams didn't start the poem knowing full well his barrel was heading for the Passaic River's misty plummet. We found a dead library, a rocket to Jesus, and a very good cafe with a jangly piano in the next town over, where Clark requested I play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (he's from Kansas) and I obliged with an approximation.
Clark's work on Williams and Robert Smithson, "So Much Depends: Printed Matter, Dying Words and the Entropic Poem" can be found at:

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Anonymous Leslie Thornton said...

I love this. Makes me think of excruciating rides home to upstate New York when I was younger, and how if I could have flipped a switch it might have gone from numbing to an adventure.

9:07 AM, December 04, 2006  

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