For the movie “Paterson,” about a poet named Paterson who lives in Paterson, N.J., the director Jim Jarmusch asked his old friend Ron Padgett, a poet from Oklahoma who lives in the East Village, for a few poems. Both men had studied poetry with Kenneth Koch at Columbia College, although not at the same time. 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. They spend summers in northern Vermont. JOHN LELAND
POET’S ALMANAC The thing is, I don’t recognize Sunday as being all that different from any other day. I don’t have a job to go to. The sun comes up, the sun goes down.
TEA AND TOAST I wake up when I wake up. I get up and I tiptoe out into the kitchen and living room, my little writing area, and I make a breakfast for myself. And I have a cup of jasmine tea and a slice of toast.
The Movie, "Paterson" - Video Clip https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/nyregion/how-the-poet-ron-padgett-spends-his-sundays.html?_r=0
PLEASURE PRINCIPLE As soon as I hear my wife stirring, I put the little Bialetti espresso pot on the stove and I make her a pot of espresso. I froth milk and I deliver it to her in bed. And she’s usually sitting up, rubbing her eyes, and she invariably says, “Thank you.” She thinks I’m doing her a big favor and I suppose I am, or a small favor, but I think I get more pleasure from doing it than she does in having the coffee.
EAST VILLAGE REVERIE Occasionally I will go out and have a bite with a friend of mine. We had been going to the Neptune, but alas, the restaurant closed a few weeks ago. It was a local hangout for a lot of poets who live in this neighborhood. It’s a great loss — although the food was mediocre at best, there was something of an Old World ambience about the place that reminded me of this neighborhood when I first moved here. Over the years I forced a lot of people to meet me there for lunch. People who want to interview me or take a photograph, whatever, I’ve forced them to meet me at Neptune.
JUDY-DEPRIVED It’s Sunday, so I’m deprived of one of my great pleasures, which is to completely goof off by watching “Judge Judy.” I am absolutely fascinated by her, and I have been for years. But she’s not on on Sunday, so if I want to just completely go mindless, lately I’ll watch a football game, usually with the sound off.
REGIMEN Our living room is also our dining room, which is also our library, which is also my work space. So it’s very easy for me to glide from our dinner table right over to my desk. It’s only two steps. So I kind of find myself able to make a seamless transition from eating lunch to writing a poem or writing email or doing some research online. I’m not undisciplined, but I don’t set a formal structure for myself.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD I don’t really mind that N.Y.U. kids and investment bankers have taken it over. That’s New York. Neighborhoods change. I’ve been here 50 years. It’s a lot safer, it’s a lot quieter, it’s a lot cleaner, and it’s a lot more boring, too. It’s a trade-off. To hear gunfire outside was not that uncommon. I’m glad those days are gone.
TULSA TIME We both grew up in Tulsa, and the custom in those days was to have dinner at 6 o’clock. It’s a custom we’ve never gotten over. So we sit down and eat almost exactly at 6 o’clock every night. It’s challenging in New York. When I first came to the city, people would say, “Will you come for dinner at 7:30 or 8?” And I’d think, God, I’ll be dying of hunger by then.
FORTUNE’S WHEEL Sometimes we watch a little telly just to digest the dinner. Maybe I’ll watch a little bit of “Wheel of Fortune.” It’s a wonderfully predictable mindless show to watch, so it’s very soothing. And then after that I’ll work on a piece of writing, and then watch a bit of something else. I like to live this way.
TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE … I just go to sleep whenever I feel sleepy. I don’t write that many poems in my sleep. Instead, I have dreams about losing poems on the subway or a bus. Those sort of anxiety dreams.