I had already read Every Day  and Like I Say . Whalen's work was very accessible--and I understood instantly what he was talking about. He seemed to have no pretensions, except possibly about Zen Buddhism, but even so, the argument and atmosphere of his poems was perfectly clear. He was a white American male who'd been in the Army, was reasonably cheerful, had a perspicacious mind, and sounded almost as abnormally normal as a poet could expect to be.
In most of the interviews and statements Whalen made in later life, he tried to present himself as the hapless flower to whom things happened, as if he couldn't summon the gumption to get up in the morning. This is of course only partly true, though his passivity is a big component of his Buddhism, accepting and acknowledging, rather than striving and overcoming.