At a recent writers’ group meeting, one of our venerable American members, Cleve Moffet, was vociferously championing the cause of the free-est possible forms of poetry. He cited as evidence the New York poets and, in particular, Frank O’Hara (1926-1966). To my eternal shame, I had never knowingly read Frank O’Hara, let alone the other members of the group of New York poets. So I immediately ordered an anthology and put the situation to rights. I am still not convinced (sorry, Cleve) that free-form prose presented in lines rather than paragraphs is poetry (though of course it can be poetical). On the other hand, I have discovered some real gems (thanks, Cleve). The New York poets may have been tortured souls, but they also had great wit. O’Hara’s ‘Why I am not a painter’, for example, had me laughing out loud. You can read it here.