The poet X. J. Kennedy - who had recently then published a book of poems called Nude Descending a Staircase - wrote a review of the important anthology of new experimental poets edited by Donald Allen. Allen's book was called The New American Poetry and featured, among other avant-garde groups, many of the Beat writers, including Kerouac. Here is a portion of Kennedy's review (published in Poetry magazine, July 1961):
Decked in its red-white-and-blue cover, stripes unfurled, the bandwagon of Allen's American Poetry rolls along. Nowadays even the burgomasters of our national letters are clearing the way for it. Lately the editors of one
New York Sunday book review gave it a front-page splash... A sober citizen may wonder what new American poetry is this, that has no James Wright, no Snodgrass, no Mervin, no Robert Lowell. (But isn't the steam-organ grand? And look at all those elephants.)
...so much of it in a language like instant mashed potatoes. And served in a comparable shape. Oh, the instant product must save toil, all right.
....The New York poets, as Allen calls them--Barbara Guest, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, and others--know what they're up to, I guess.... What sadness, though, is the stodginess of most of the rest of the book--so much of it in a language like instant mashed potatoes. And served in a comparable shape. Oh, the instant product must save toil, all right. Who knows, it yet may drive the real article out of circulation. Why should a man learn how to write a decent villanelle (shouldn't he know how, at least?--I don't say he has to print it) when with a tenth the time and heartache he can strew lines on a page any cockeyed way he chooses, and be hailed with the new American poetry? Poems ought to be harder to write than this. Otherwise nothing can stop Kerouac--if he wants to do it--from writing three or four books daily.