Friday, June 23, 2006

Look for the Nul

Day Two
The problem with approaching Paterson, is that it shoots you out as soon as you get to it. I had the bright idea of taking a side trip to Paterson last week while stuck in Friday rush hour and weekend shore traffic. Which just meant more traffic, but for art's sake. A stop at the falls only felt like cheating. All-in-all, an eight-hour trip thru the impossible object, with nothing gained.
The next day, in Baltimore, I'm taken to a festival with a ride called the Scatter, or the Splatter, or the Skooter. It looks like some very old but charming model of how the universe moves, spinning under the overpass. Is this road overhead the same road I crawled from Scatterson on? Incidently, Williams uses the term "scatter" fairly frequently in Paterson as a term of opprobrium. The Skatter, however, is a fine species of people-moving, and in comparison to the turnpike, as celestial as its design promises. I don't think it's G-force that holds you in, more like a D-force; it's certainly not the chain they lock between you and the void, insubstantial like the strap on a Chanel handbag.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Anti-Blog Audioblog Moment from Paterson

this is an audio post - click to play

I guess the loophole here is the word "paper."

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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