Issues and Influence

 “Any page by Paul Goodman will give you not only originality and brilliance but wisdom, that is, something to think about. He is our peculiar, urban, twentieth-century Thoreau, the quintessential American mind of our time.” 
—Hayden Carruth

“Paul Goodman was not ahead of his time but in his time.” 
—Grace Paley

“Paul Goodmanʼs voice is the real thing. There has not been such a convincing, genuine, singular voice in our language since D. H. Lawrence. Paul Goodmanʼs voice touched everything he wrote about with intensity, interest, and his own terribly appealing sureness and awkwardness.” 
—Susan Sontag
Read more from Susan Sontag here

“I suspect heʼs forgotten as a person, but his influence is all around us.”
–Noam Chomsky

“I have long been disappointed by how quickly Paul Goodmanʼs work has been forgotten. I hope your film will change this.”
–John Ashbery

“He craved something to praise, anything to praise. He said that poetry was praise, and he always wanted to praise things. But he was always complaining!” 
–Geoffrey Gardner

“Kids are still growing up absurd.” 
–Michael Walzer

“He was both Rousseau and Burke at the same time, in the same body. And one has to be that to live in this world. If youʼre one or the other, itʼs hopeless. He had wonderful expectations in human nature and also a very keen idea of its limits, albeit at the same time. It takes a genius to bring those together on one body. But thatʼs what he was and thatʼs why he was interesting.” 
–Jason Epstein

“I always read his poetry, finding it original, expressive and enduring, concerned with the largest and smallest matters, finding the right note or style for the whole range. It certainly seems to me time to bring Goodman back into the conversation.” 
–Adrienne Rich

“But if he was that rare thing among radicals today, an educated poet, who will yet bring up the poetry? A disconcerting number of fans, even among his friends, did not realize he wrote poems. Yet his poetry is not the same as his other works. It rises higher and will be viewed as individual long after his thrilling but didactic ideas, pragmatic and doctrinaire, have been absorbed, as they will be, into our anonymous common culture.”
–Ned Rorem
Read more from Ned Rorem here

“Paul Goodman argued for the way that gay life broke down social and racial barriers, even the barriers between generations. Even, in his case, the barrier between straight and gay, for finally he was a bisexual—that most dreaded sort of interstitial being. Goodman was both a utopian and a very practical person. He always thought in terms of concrete situations and problems of problem-solving. But he was the opposite of a cold technocrat. He was a visionary who believed that there were people of good will and intelligence out there.” 
–Edmund White
Read more from Edmund White here