AG: These specimens in American poetry of open-form verse are not that easy to find. Even after (Ezra) Poundand(William Carlos) Williams – 1905 or so – most American poets continued writing in the more archaic, nineteenth-century, iambic patterns. And when I first discovered free verse, working with William Carlos Williams, it was an adventure going out and trying to find poets in America or England who had written in an open form and had done it well (not just sloppy free verse, but poets who had some kind of electricity in the line).
But a big thick book of open form verse like this is hard to find by a great writer. There aren’t that many. I mean, see if you can think of that many? Maybe after 1950 you can find a large body of work by many poets, like Robert Duncanor Denise Levertov or myself or Gary Snyder or Philip Whalen. But (D.H.) Lawrence is rare because there is less of a rigid artistic idea as you might find in (Ezra) Pound or (Gary) Snyder. His really is open form verse, loose verse. It really is a novelist writing poetry with his ear and with his mind but he ‘s not really trying to arrange the lines by any archaic order, or any new invented order like William Carlos Williams. It’s just open speech, open loose talk. Loose talk. And because of that it has a vivacity and vividness and clarity and personality that my own work or Snyder’s doesn’t, because ours is a little literary – or Duncan, say, or Pound. Here is just a guy – a man, or an intelligent man – spouting off.