Paterson the film

After watching the film Paterson (2016), I learned that the the the esteemed poet Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, and author of the volumes of poems entitled Paterson, William Carlos Williams, was born in 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey and died there in 1963.

Paterson, the film, documents a week in the life of the main character, a bus driver in the town of Paterson, New Jersey, who is played by Adam Driver, Paterson’s wife, Laura, played by Golshifteh Farahani, and their English bulldog, Marvin. Paterson, is a poet who carries his notebook with him on his bus routes, and on his walks on his way to work, in his neighbourhood, and in the park near the Passiac Falls.  The film brings to life a 2020 version of the embodied Paterson as described by Williams in 1946, a man who is “in himself is a city, beginning, seeking , achieving and concluding his life in ways which the various aspects of a city may embody— if imaginatively conceived — any city, all the details of which may be made to voice his most intimate convictions.”

Paterson the book of poetry

Williams published Paterson in the post-WWII period, between 1946 and 1958. It was described as a “modernist epic collage of place” which recounts the “history, people, and essence of Paterson, New Jersey.” He “wrote his own modern epic poem, focusing on “the local” on a wider scale than he had previously attempted.

In the author’s note to Paterson, Williams wrote, ”

“Paterson is a long poem in four parts — that a man in himself is a city, beginning, seeking , achieving and concluding his life in ways which the various aspects of a city may embody— if imaginatively conceived — any city, all the details of which may be made to voice his most intimate convictions. Part One introduces the elemental character of the place. The Second Part comprises the modern replicas. Three will seek a language to make them vocal, and Four, the river below the falls, will be reminiscent of episodes — all that any one man may achieve in a lifetime.”

Williams also examined the role of the poet in American society and famously summarized his poetic method in the phrase “No ideas but in things” (found in his poem “A Sort of a Song” and repeated again and again in Paterson).”

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
— through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.

James Joyce’s Ulysses

Williams was inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses. Joyce’s fictional character is Leopold Bloom, who lived at 52 Clanbrassil Street in Portobello, Dublin, Ireland, where there is now a memorial plaque commemorating Bloom.

The James Joyce Museum website describes how Joyce “forensically” documented June 16th, 1904, a day in Bloom’s life. On that exact date, Joyce went on his first date with “the love of his life, Nora Barnacle from Galway”.

The first lines in Ulysses describe the fictional “stately, plump Buck Mulligan” at the top of the Martello tower in  Sandy Cove, Dublin, which is now the Joyce Tower museum. The significance of these lines is explained by the Joyce Project.

“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.”

Play list of music for the film Paterson

The play list for the music in the 2016 includes Soltane Ghalbha, which was composed by Anooshirvan Rohani (b. 1939) for a 1968 Iranian film by the same name, which was directed by Mohammad Ali Fardin. Soltane Ghalbha means King of Hearts. It was played by the Iranian pianist, Mohsen Karbassi. Rohani composed all the music for the 1968 film. and Aref Arefkia and Ahdieh sang the songs that were then dubbed by the lead performers. This is a YouTube video of Arefkia singing Soltane Ghalbha.

Other music is listed on Spotify:

  • Walk through this world with me by Tammy Wynette
  • Trespasser by Bad Medicine
  • I’m still a man (Lord have mercy) by Willie West
  • Blue Lester by Lester Young
  • The Whole Town’s Laughing at me by Teddy Pendergrass
  • Untitled (feat. Scar) (Explicit) by Killer Mike, Scar R.A.P. Music
  • Kieh Kieh Dar Mizanheh by Pouran on Best of Pouran
  • Blue Mode by Reuben Wilson
  • I’m still a man (Lord have mercy) instrumental by Willie West
  • Lonely Town, Lonely Street by Bill Withers

The poet who wrote the poems in Paterson the film

I am enchanted by the film Paterson on Netflix. It is a film about a fictional poet Paterson who lives in Paterson and who is inspired by William Carlos Williams, a poet who wrote a book of poetry called Paterson. Ron Padgett, a poet, wrote 4 poems for the film Paterson. This one is from an exquisite scene between a 11-year old girl who is a poet reading her poem to Paterson when they meet on his way home from his day job as bus driver.

A poem by  Ron Padgett

Water falls from the bright air
It falls like hair
Falling across a young girl’s shoulders
Water falls
Making pools in the asphalt
Dirty mirrors with clouds and buildings inside
It falls on the roof of my house
Falls on my mother and on my hair
Most people call it rain


  1. Day 1, Hour 1. This post, which has just begun on March 21, will include Creative Commons and open source content including poetry, Wikipedia links, Gutenberg Press content, a Google map called Mapping Fiction on Web 2.0. I am also making a Google Earth map to help for accuracy that will not be publicly available.
  2. This is day 2, Hour 2 of the mapping fiction project. Concurrent to the Google Maps I made for this, I was also working on a Google Earth folder as well. After realizing that Google Maps description fields are not responsive to either Wikipedia code [ https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4300/4300-h/4300-h.htm Ulysses] or html code <a ref=”https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4300/4300-h/4300-h.htm”>Ulysses,</a&gt; I hope to share the Google Earth version. For example, The setting for the first lines in Ulysses is the Martello tower in  Sandy Cove, Dublin, which is now the Joyce Tower museum.
  3. According to Wikipedia, Williams, in “addition to his writing, had a long career as a physician practicing both pediatrics and general medicine. He was affiliated with Passaic General Hospital, where he served as the hospital’s chief of pediatrics from 1924 until his death. The hospital, which is now known as St. Mary’s General Hospital, paid tribute to Williams with a memorial plaque that states, “We walk the wards that Williams walked.”
  4. The Joyce Project was undertaken by John Hunt, who was a then a professor of literature at the University of Montana, who was aided with over a dozen contributors, from the US, Ireland, Canada, and Iran.  I have created an Internet Archives url here.
  5. In 1827, Timothy Botchford Crane (1773 – 1845) ” built the first chasm bridge” across the Passaic River. They were then known as the Passaic River and are now called  the Great Falls.

“So far everything had gone smoothly. The pulley and ropes were securely fastened on each side of the chasm, and everything made in readiness to pull the clumsy bridge into position. It was a wooden structure boarded up on both sides, and a roof. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon and a large crowd had gathered — a large crowd for that time, as the town only numbered about four thou- sand—to watch the bridge placed in position. But the happiest man in the town that day was Timothy B. Crane, who had charge of the bridge. Tim Crane was a hotel keeper and kept a tavern on the Manchester side of the Falls. His place was a great resort for circus men. Such famous circus men of the long ago as Dan Rice and James Cooke, the great bareback rider, visited him. Tim Crane built the bridge because his rival, Fyfield, who kept the tavern on the other side of the falls, was getting the benefit of the “Jacob’s Ladder,” as it was sometimes called — the “hundred steps,” a long, rustic, winding stairs in the gorge leading to the opposite side of the river — it making his, place more easy to get to. . . . Crane was a very robust man over six feet tall. He wore side whiskers. He was well known to the other citizens as a man of much energy and no little ability.”

6. Lyrics to Soltane Ghalbha

The Sultan (King) of the Hearts
A part of my heart tells me to go, to go,
The other part of my heart tells me not to go, not to go,
My heart is not patient, not patient,
What should I do without you,

For the love, o my pretty one, my pretty one,
The world is so small, so small,
Everywhere I go, your memory is with me, your memory is with me,
I won’t leave you alone,

You’re the sultan (king) of my heart, my heart,
You broke through my heart’s gates,
You gave a love promise to my heart,
You joined me,
Now if I’m anywhere but far from you,
I won’t give my heart to anyone as a beloved but you,
I’m filled with wishing and demand,
O my beautiful beloved,

A part of my heart tells me to, go, to go,
The other part of my heart tells me not to go, not to go,
My heart is not patient, not patient,
What should I do without you,

For the love, o my pretty one, my pretty one,
The world is so small, so small,
Everywhere I go, your memory is with me, your memory is with me,
I won’t leave you alone,

You’re the sultan (king) of my heart, my heart,
You broke through my heart’s gates,
You gave a love promise to my heart,
You joined me,

Now if I’m anywhere but far from you,
I won’t give my heart to anyone as a beloved but you,
I’m filled with wishing and demand,
O my beautiful beloved.


Joyce, James (1922). Ulysses. London: Egoist Press. 732 pages.

Joyce, James. The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ulysses.
Wikipedia contributors. Paterson (film) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 21, 2020.

Wikipedia contributors. “William Carlos Williams.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved  March 20, 2020.

Wikipedia contributors. “Rutherford, New Jersey.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 Mar. 2020. Web. 22 Mar. 2020. March 21, 2020

Williams, William Carlos  (1946-58). Paterson. New York: New Direction. oclc: 1001922820. 248 pages. The first collected edition of all 5 books was published in 1963, preceded by cumulative collected editions of 1949, 1950, and 1951.

Williams, William Carlos  (1946-58). Internet Archives full-text of Paterson.


November 14, 2013

Bearspaw by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe




Upcoming Events



12″ x 24″
Acrylic on Gallery Canvas
Shown in Federation of Canadian Artists exhibition Calgary Branch

It was a cool fall evening and the rolling foothills of the Rockies were still an enigma to me. I was still learning the names of plants like silverberry (also known as wolf willow), which were used by the Blackfoot. Its shades of grey differed from those of the ubiquitous poplar. I wanted to capture the rich tapestry of textures in the colours unique to the foothills. I wanted to capture the shapes carved in geological time as the glaciers melted, cutting furrows and creating the Bow River with its origins in the distant Rockies. I was beginning to learn the names of the peaks, the High Rock Mountains to the left and the distinctive Devil’s Head to the right. I could see a scattering of people, families, some walking thier dogs, meandering along the winding trails, becoming miniaturized the farther they went. The gullies were deep as they reached the bottom their voices could be heard as if from some strange space. It was cold and I was wearing my Dicken’s painting gloves and was wrapped in blanket. As usual I was chasing the light. The most dramatic light for painting is that half light when the sun is setting or rising. But as every plein air artist know, one has to work quickly to catch the rapidly changing light. I returned a second evening and then finished the details in my home studio. During that period I was listening to a very dark apocalyptic novel, Blind, and I was playing it in the background as I painted at home. It had an impact on the mood of the painting. But the sunburst provided that sense of hope on the distant horizon. Very Sturm und Drang


Silverberry, Wolf Willow, Misisaimi’soyiis (Blackfoot), Binomial name: Elaeagnus commutata

For more about Blackfoot see Glenbow Museum. (2005).  Nitsitapiisinni Exhibit. Calgary, Alberta: Blackfoot Gallery Committee

Photo of Silverberry on Flickr

See Plein Air Gallery

© 2013 Art by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe. Last updated October 2013. meta4site@gmail.com

DRAFT long term project

1927 German philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote his most important book entitled Sein und Zeit Being and Time. It strongly influenced existentialism, hermeneutics and deconstruction. Heidegger’s Dasein is uniquely characterised by the openness of its way of Being. Google books

“With the ‘cogito sum’ Descartes had claimed that he was putting philosophy on a new and firm footing. But what he left undetermined when he began in this ‘radical’ way, was the kind of Being which belongs to the res cogitans, or—more precisely—the meaning of the Being of the ‘sum’. (Heidegger 1962: 46).”

1853 American novelist Herman Melville (1819–1891) wrote the short story entitled “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” which first appeared in two parts in Putnam’s Magazine. His character is

1849 Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s (1813-1855) book entitled The Sickness Unto Death was published. In it he described soul sickness and the relational self:

“The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation [which accounts for it] that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but [consists in the fact] that the relation relates itself to its own self. Man is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity, in short it is a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between two factors. So regarded, man is not yet a self (Kierkegaard 1849) [Through a process of becoming. . .] “By relating itself to its own self and by willing to be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the Power which constituted it.”

1843 Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s (1813-1855) book entitled Fear and Trembling was published.

1781 German philosopher Immanuel Kant published his book entitled Critique of Pure Reason. Tsutomu Ben Yagi (2009) argued that,

“For Kant, being self-conscious implies having experience and recognising that as one’s own (ibid.: 152-153). Based on his analysis, Kant thus arrived at the transcendental unity of apperception as the highest function of the mind which unites one’s experience under one subsisting subject. Though Kant’s exposition is quite different from that of Descartes’, he still maintains the idea that formal deduction provides legitimate knowledge for us (ibid.: 13-14, 25-26).”

1641 1641 René Descartes published his treatise entitled Meditations on First Philosophy in Latin “Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur.” He began work on the Meditations in 1639. Descartes argued that our essence lies the state of being conscious. We are thinking beings res cogitans (Meditation 2). Extended objects/things res extensa (books, plants) are not conscious. It is argued that Descartes failed to fully explain the fundamentally characteristic of res cogitans.

René Descartes’s diagram illustrating dualism. According to Descartes, the pineal gland (shown here behind the eyes) transmitted messages from the eyes to the muscles mechanically. The pineal gland became the bridge material/physical (body) and the non-material/immaterial/non-physical substance/world/universe (mind). Through the pineal gland stimuli/inputs passed via sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the mind. Descartes mind and body

Selected Webliography and Bibliography

Heidegger, M. (1927). Being and Time. (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.) San Francisco: Harper.

Heidegger, M. (1982). The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. (A. Hofstadter, Trans.).
Bloomington: Indiana UP.

Heidegger, M. (2000). Introduction to Metaphysics. (G. Fried & R. Polt, Trans.). New
Haven: Yale UP

Lorentzen, Jamie. 2010. Sober Cannibals, Drunken Christians: Melville, Kierkegaard, and Tragic Optimism in Polarized Worlds

Yagi, Tsutomu B. 2009. “Beyond Subjectivity: Kierkegaard’s Self and Heidegger’s Dasein.” Perspectives: International Postgraduate Journal of Philosophy. University College Dublin.

“Tsutomu Ben Yagi’s paper ‘Beyond Subjectivity: Kierkegaard’s Self and Heidegger’s Dasein’ (2009) considers the departure made from classical notions of subjectivity by these thinkers. He argues that their temporalisation and finitisation of subjectivity leads away from a metaphysical understanding of subjectivity and moves towards a more existential understanding that breaks most successfully from the history of metaphysics with Heidegger.”

Sitting in her forest green long velvet dress storyteller and word magician Orunamamu perused the small book of poetry looking for the poem our host had read just before her arrival at the neighbourhood friendship potluck gathering. I had told her about it because I knew she would like it. Something about the combination of courage, gaiety and the quiet mind.

On my hands and knees in my ridiculous but practical hort outfit I spend hours tending to dozens, maybe even, hundreds of plants, perennials, heritage, gifts, volunteers, seeds, flowering, vegetables, herbs, invasives (too enthusiastic at the wrong place and time).

The garden is one place where some of us find courage as we see the tiny new growth on a plant that has looked forlorn for months, barely alive in the fall many of them transplanted perhaps too late in the season surviving somehow the trauma of roots being wrenched apart, moved far from the others in a cold place that will only get colder. Death would have been a logical conclusion but somehow they survived protected by layers of mulch and snow and God’s grace.

I never use the old word gaiety but it does describe the “sweet moment” of gardening when you see a clump of early blue violets flourishing in an urban garden in Calgary, a reminder of my older sister’s uncanny ability to speedily find and make a wild blue violet bouquet; single shooting star plant chosen for the garden because of the Garry Woods fields on Vancouver Island; a single brilliant orange poppy opening in May; and too many to describe because the garden and the robins are waiting.

A quiet mind in an anxious world where even one’s own home and garden is temporary and insecure.

Two years ago the 1950s bungalow across the street with its very old heritage garden was demolished, the fertile ancient river bed soil was scraped away and a duplex quickly filled the entire lot. The front landscaping is as polite as that in any new development.

Last year a neighbour sold and moved back east. The new owner tore out the old garden that had been tended for 15 years replacing it with more practical grass which requires less work in their busy schedule.

On the corner one of our oldest neighbours has finally agreed to his family’s desire to sell. The house was built in 1945 and moved in the 1950’s and is surrounded by a horticultural heritage garden, sun rooms, inviting comfortable sitting areas in every corner, sheds overflowing with tools . . . It too will be sold, demolished, the garden uprooted, the topsoil scoured and replaced by other built forms like the one next door, and the one next to that and the next one: walls of sensible stucco with ubiquitous earth colours coordinating with other homes, designs and forms. Perhaps its what postmodernism has become in the booming housing market, picking up on details from Tudor, Victorian, Queen Ann, etc from here and there and tacking them on superficially. Their height is maximized to the zoning limits and the walls extend to the edge of the property. The intelligent pragmatic architecture and materials of these buildings will be easily recognized in the future as D1 of the 21st century many surviving only as photos since the actual buildings are not made to the same standards as pre-1980s. Fortunately the set back gives room for some old trees and tasteful, smart urban landscapes spaces.

This is not “my” garden. I for a short period of time am simply the worker for the robins, plants and the worms. It is a gift to the street. I work outside the fence. I have to be realistic.

As I dig up ancient river stones I write on them, words that I then reread when I am taking out the braids in the rhizome of roots.

But for today I will compost, mulch, feed, plant, transplant, water, tidy, admire, get tired, feel courage, gaiety and enjoy fleeting moments of a quiet mind.

Locating the Concept of  Success

"We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell;
for the love that unites us;
for the peace accorded us this day;
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies,
that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth,
and our friendly helpers in this foreign isle.
Let peace abound in our small company.
Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge.
Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere.
Offenders, give us the grace to accept and to forgive offenders.
Forgetful ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of others.
Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours.
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come,
that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune,
and, down to the gates of death,
loyal and loving one to another.
As the clay to the potter,
as the windmill to the wind,
as children of their sire,
we beseech of Thee."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson wrote the Valima Letters after he and his wife Fanny settled In the village of Valima on Upolu island, Samoa. He also became an much-appreciated activist highly critical of European colonial administrators worked very hard on land he had purchased in Vailima. He published A Footnote to History. He died in 1894.


When I worked at the National Gallery of Canada as contract art educator in the 1990s I remember viewing an art clip in which the videographer chased a plastic bag in a mundane urban setting as it was picked up by the breeze and eventually carried out over the waters. The sound track consisted of transient noises including the videographer’s breathing and footsteps which increased in intensity when the breeze picked up.

This Noruz film directed by Ramin Bahrani entitled Plastic Bag (2009) expands on this concept into a 20 minute saga narrated by Werner Herzog who gives a dramatic rendering of the journey from its creation, discovery of its purpose, the meaning of its existence, finding love and freedom, then eternal entrapment in the plastic vortex with 100 million plastic objects in the Pacific Ocean.