T he force behind Lowell's mature achievement and much of contemporary poetry lies in the experimentation begun in the 1950s by a number of poets. They may be divided into five loose schools, identified by Donald Allen in his The New American Poetry (1960), the first anthology to present the work of poets who were previously neglected by the critical and academic communities.
Inspired by jazz and abstract expressionist painting, most of the experimental writers are a generation younger than Lowell. They have tended to be bohemian, counter-culture intellectuals who disassociated themselves from universities and outspokenly criticized "bourgeois" American society. Their poetry is daring, original, and sometimes shocking. In its search for new values, it claims affinity with the archaic world of myth, legend, and traditional societies such as those of the American Indian. The forms are looser, more spontaneous, organic; they arise from the subject matter and the feeling of the poet as the poem is written, and from the natural pauses of the spoken language. As Allen Ginsberg noted in "Improvised Poetics," "first thought best thought."