Paterson is both a place—the New Jersey city in whom the person (the poet’s own life) and the public (the history of the region) are combined. Originally four books (published individually between 1946 and 1951), the structure of Paterson (in Dr. Williams’ words) “follows the course of the Passaic River” from above the great falls to its entrance into the sea. The unexpected Book Five, published in 1958, affirms the triumphant life of the imagination, in spite of age and death. This revised edition has been meticulously re-edited by Christopher MacGowan, who has supplied a wealth of notes and explanatory material.
From the publisher:
The poetry of Muriel Rukeyser confronts the turbulent currents of 20th-century history, as it explores with depth and honesty the realms of politics, sexuality, mythic imagination, technological change, and family life. She was a social activist of unwavering commitment, a tireless experimenter who opened fresh forms and fresh subject matter in modern American poetry, and a writer who was constantly testing her own limits in a life’s work of extraordinary scope.