Yay, nay, or: I can’t hear you…

An American sentence:

Could written lines match the force of the most emotively spoken words?


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.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

28 thoughts on “Yay, nay, or: I can’t hear you…”

  1. I have always admired Ginsberg, love his free form writing, and the American sentence makes sense as a western sentence. Harper harps on with commonsense – wonderful, and best wishes for your generous venture, I hope to engage with you somehow at some point.

      1. Yes, I do feel called to read some of my poems and I do view many poems like songs – best heard, however there are some that find strength in a quiet interaction between the words and the reader. πŸ’•

      1. Sometimes I am disappointed when I hear something read out loud – soz, that’s not very helpful is it.

          1. Ah well … a stirring performance is all well and good, but then the performer is making decisions of interpretation for the audience. (I am obviously feeling contrary tonight – apologies!)

  2. Ah,I am stuck here.😁 I can’t deny the fact that verses and lines can be very powerful, and convey messages in their spirit; but words, I feel, emotive words, have a different impact on people… I’ll leave it to you to decide πŸ˜‰ but for now, great American sentence and great question too! πŸ˜€

      1. Well then- my answer would remain the same. The emotive movement in each of us varries, so our emtions would determine which of the two had the greatest impact but i suspect it would be split nearly 50/50 predicated more on preference as opposed to being impactful.
        imo

  3. I think the answer is β€œyes,” but in the case of the written word, more depends on the reader’s perception/state of mind in order to receive the emotion. With spoken word the emotions are more likely to be perceived regardless.
    Cool sentence!

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