Stone, or: Water

An American sentence:

Language trickles slowly, wearing down our obstinate societies.

What’s an ‘American Sentence’?

Allen Ginsberg, inventor of the American Sentence, felt that the haiku didnโ€™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!

31 thoughts on “Stone, or: Water”

  1. Moves very slowly David, agreed there! But in the light of the uncertainty and fear of coronavirus; the rapidly changing climate and constant state of war or threat of war, I believe thereโ€™s more of an appetite than ever for the language of poetry; real poetry and the truth and beauty that comes with it.

      1. Speaking of the power of language David, Iโ€™ve a new piece up called โ€œPARAMETERS OF TIMEโ€ which was inspired by a conversation we had around that Jack Kerouac quote I blogged about last Friday. ๐Ÿ˜

  2. obstinate society?
    language stutters –
    unless I sing

    PS in German slang ‘der singt aber…’ is not just used for canaries but also for villains who tell all

      1. Let’s see… I believe language is something which is responsible for a society’s existence, the base of all communication, and hence one of the building blocks of society.

        And my friends’ opinions, with respect to the sentence itself is that language is something not so important in life, but something which should be learnt on our own… essentially, they think language shouldn’t define a society’s structure, it should just function as always.

        1. language is something not so important in life

          the idea that language is not important in life is not one that I can accept at all.

          they think language shouldnโ€™t define a societyโ€™s structure, it should just function as always.

          whether it should or shouldn’t is one question… whether it does or doesn’t is another. I think the way we use words – and the words we choose to use profoundly shape the directions that our societies move in. TBH, I’m not even sure by what your friends mean when they say “as always”… do your friends think societies are somehow functioning without their respective languages?

          1. “do your friends think societies are somehow functioning without their respective languages?”

            Nah, they just hate the idea of giving so much importance to language, but they know, deep inside, perhaps, that they can’t fight it, its something they’ll have to accept, one way or the other..

  3. This is so true
    On the otherhand
    One Jester’s enjoyment and laughter
    Is another Jester’s deepest anguish
    These are the ones who ultimately commit suicide.

    How sweet and awful life can be all at the same time
    Of course it will be affirmed
    With righteous justification


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