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his arguments, although I did not altogether understand why they did not convince me. As against the New Lines mode I was looking more to the example of American writers whom I had been reading since my first term at Cambridge, and the Donald Allen anthology, The New American Poetry, 1945–60, gave access to more recent American poets, principally Charles Olson, although I was also very much impressed by John Wieners and Edward Dorn who also published in that anthology.
These ideas were more formally laid out in a review Crozier published in the October 1963 issue of Granta, in which he looked closely at both Robert Conquest’s New Lines 2 and the Faber edition of Five American Poets which had been compiled by Ted Hughes and Thom Gunn. In the review he suggested that the poets included in Conquest’s anthology ‘are our orthodoxy, not our rebels’ and noted that the work of most of Conquest’s poets showed a total separation of form and content: ‘Maybe by ignoring form (in fact just accepting iambics, rhyme and periodic stanza patterns) they think they can pay attention to their content; but, their content is trivial.’ Crozier went on to quote from section two of Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’, the whole of which had appeared in the sixth section of Donald Allen’s anthology:
It comes to this: the use of a man, by himself and thus by others, lies in how he convinces his relation to nature, that force to which he owes his somewhat small existence. If he sprawl, he shall find little to sing but himself, and shall sing, nature has such paradoxical ways, by way of artificial forms outside himself. But if he stays inside himself, if he is contained within his nature as he is participant in the larger force, he will be able to listen, and his hearing through himself will give him secrets objects share. And by an inverse law his shapes will make their own way… For a man’s problem, the moment he takes speech up in all its seriousness, is to give his work his seriousness, a seriousness sufficient to cause the thing he makes to try to take its place alongside the things of nature.
The point is this: by the adherence to an iambic line, their use of rhyme, and their use of stanzaic patterns that impose an arbitrary pattern on the poem once the first stanza has been composed (even supposing that it has not been taken ready made from a