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Paterson (2 poems from the film) - Jim Jarmusch, Ron Padgett

"These people are like innovators and rebels. They deal with changing your consciousness. Their form is not a commercial one. Show me a poet that does it for the money, you know? I still think poets are like, for me, like rock stars. They're kind of magical people. They should just be given whatever they want."

- Jim Jarmusch


I often contemplate the absurdity of poetry, and the place of a poet in a world ODing on content and glitz.


I like to think of the poet as a collector - a quiet person who watches and makes notes about the little things he notices; a person who cherishes the world in fragments fashioned together with impossible patience. The slow labour of words slips into the carefully guarded nostalgia of the everyday, and a poem slips into the universe, with the quiet oblivion of a person who does not seem to fit into the time he is inhabiting. Poets are self-conscious people unsure of the mismatched images they birth.


William Carlos Williams, in his long poem “Paterson” coins a beautiful phrase which became a catchphrase for many poets of the time - “no ideas but in things”. Jim Jarmusch tips his hat to Williams in every frame of the film Paterson.


I want to thank Jarmusch with the wide eyes and young heart of a poet who has learnt to love poetry the way a child learns the secrets of darkness. I want to thank him (and Ron Padgett who penned the poems except for “water falls”) for creating the the dream that is Paterson. The film unfolds like a poem, rounding back on itself again and again, like the lead character who loves the routine of his job as a bus driver which allows him to pick up small details and save it in his “secret notebook”.


After watching the film I think of a particular sequence of events. A quiet person observes something on the margins of his vision. He smiles. He writes in his mind what his senses tell him. Then he steals a second glance. Isn’t it absurd? How mundane it is, how repetitive, and yet, how unique!


It is as if reality is the journey of an imperfect rhyme.


*Thankyou Raju Tai for sharing “Paterson” with me.




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