Toward the end of his career, Carver remarked that he was "not so interested" in things like "[s]tanzas, numbers of syllables, lines per stanza" (Stull, "Life and Death" 191). In the post-Fires poetry, stanzaic structure and line length are generally unimportant. In the earlier poetry collected in Fires, however, stanzaic structure is frequently more central to Carver's presentation. Comparable visually to the open form that earlier masters had employed-for instance, sections of Williams's Patterson or E. E. Cummings's "in Just-"—and which became more popular in the 1960s with poems such as Charles Olson's "The Kingfishers" and A. R. Ammons's "Corsons Inlet," Carver's "Spring, 480 B.C." and "The News Carried to Macedonia" are especially noteworthy. The former poem delightfully satirizes Xerxes, the unbalanced, megalomaniacal Persian emperor, whose forces were routed by the Athenians. Blaming not the weather but the Hellespont for the storm that temporarily delayed the march of his enormous army, Xerxes demanded that the impertinent, "unruly body of water" be
whipped, fettered, and branded "with hot irons" (31). Starting at the left edge and at five, eight, ten, fifteen, and twenty spaces inward, the wildly irregular lines create an "unruly" structure that beautifully complements the poem's principle theme, the mocking of Xerxes for his insane hubris.