If a cat spoke, or: If a monkey typed

An American sentence:

If a cat spoke, it would say things like, ‘Hey, I don’t see the problem here.’

Roy Blount Jr. (b. 1941)

Some further American sentences:

  1. Unknowingly, Blount constructed a funny ‘American Sentence’.
  2. Need ‘American Sentences’ not be composed deliberately?
  3. A monkey could also produce an ‘American Sentence’ by chance.
  4. I’m not comparing Blount to a monkey. It’s a thought experiment.
  5. Writing an ‘American Sentence’ does not require overthinking.
  6. Meow, meow, mrow, mrrr, prr, prrt, mrrrrrrrrrrawr, mew, rrrr, awr, hiiiiiiiiiss, meow, mrrr, mEEEwr!

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!

22 thoughts on “If a cat spoke, or: If a monkey typed”

  1. Could this be a new addiction. Searching for other people’s sentences which have exactly 17 syllables?πŸ˜‰

          1. that’s what made me wonder about the essence of an ‘American Sentence’ in the first place – what if such a sentence is composed entirely unintentionally?

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