Directed by Jim Jarmusch
William Carlos Williams’ work was about capturing a moment. There are times when his work reminds me of Walt Whitman in its laudatory celebration, for example, of Paterson, NJ. (I know New Jersey, really.) And, at other times, his poems seem a lot like the New York School. He was a contemporary of Frank O’Hara, though much of his work pre-dates the NYS. Nevertheless, he was influential in his simplicity and taking a snapshot of everyday life and holding it up. It is what it is=a wheelbarrow, but it is also grander than that=it’s red, the chickens are white. What isn’t mentioned is that it is a clear crisp morning, the kind where you feel alive. Glad of that particular moment.
In the movie Paterson, Adam Driver, is a bus driver named Paterson. Is there some synchronicity here? He observes. Through his lens we see:
A mailbox askew
Series of twins
He sees patterns in Paterson.
Is it all black and white? (His wife’s favorite.)
He is also distracted—as if everyday life is intruding upon his art—or vice versa. Driving a bus, keeping to a schedule, a specific loop could easily be boring if it weren’t were for all the interesting people, overheard conversations, if there wasn’t so much poetry in the ordinary. It’s remarkable! Even the ubiquitous falls that the tourists come to see and celebrate.
Life is more than a confusion of a trillion cells.
Ron Padgett a second generation poet of the New York School was tapped to write the poems used throughout the film. From The New York Times:
Mr. Padgett, 74, who wrote three poems and provided four old ones for the movie’s main character, said the words flowed easily. “I realized I’ve been writing poems as one character or another for more than 50 years,” he said. He lives with his wife, Patricia Padgett, in the same railroad flat he found in 1967 and promised would be their home for no more than one year.
He also makes his wife coffee every morning. In the pics accompanying the interview he looks older, much older than William Carlos Williams when he died. Older than most of his friends whom he’s survived. At a certain point we get a quick glimpse of Lunch Hour Poems by Frank O’Hara by the driver’s, Paterson’s lunchbox.
This is not a big movie nor is it epic, fast-paced, action-filled. It is about ordinary people living ordinary lives. Nothing happens. Just like a poem.
|Ron Padgett is in the middle|