Tradition, or: Modernity

An American sentence

Yesteryear’s modernity is today’s venerated tradition.

What’s an ‘American Sentence’?

Allen Ginsberg, inventor of the American Sentence, felt that the haiku didn’t work as well in English. Ginsberg decided to remove the line structure of the haiku, maintaining the requirement of 17 syllables total. He felt that removing the line count freed the American Sentence up for the idiosyncrasies of English phonemes.

The requirements:

  1. Composed in one line;
  2. Syllabic, 17 syllables;
  3. Condensed, written with no unnecessary words or articles;
  4. Complete sentence or sentences;
  5. Includes a turn or enlightenment.


I am offline for 25 hours for the Jewish festival of Sukkot, from sunset on Monday to sunset on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you soon!

23 thoughts on “Tradition, or: Modernity”

  1. Things change so quickly now that modern has almost lost its meaning. There’s a lot of nostalgia though for things that weren’t all that great at the time. (K)

  2. It is true – what was innovation a long time ago is now tradition! My mother always gave us oranges in our stockings at Christmas. It was a special treat that started with my great-great-grandfather. He managed to get oranges and gave them as gifts to his children. Every year they would be given… My great grandmother gave them to her children, my grandmother gave them to my mother who in turn put them in our stockings… I give them to my sons. It is now a tradition even though oranges are common and can be purchased year round.

      1. Your vision (‘yesterday’s modernity’ becoming ‘today’s venerated traditions’ brought to mind McLuhan’s futurist view of media communications, where he saw obsolescent technologies influencing emergent replacements. For instance, in 1964 he foresaw the telephone and television evolving into what he called the ‘global village’ of real-time interconnected humanity.
        While ‘venerated traditions,’ say, Old Testament religion, implies the robustness of ‘yesterday’s modernity,’ in the McLuhan sense, maybe the New Testament religion would be the evolved replacement for the OT, and the Quran religion would be that for the NT.
        But McLuhan, wisely, didn’t go there. ; )

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