The worse it seemed to get…

An American paragraph*

(an experimental form)

He wished that not everything had to be so challenging all the time. Clearly, it didn’t matter whether he combed his beard thrice; he knew that. Plus, why wake up each morning at seven twenty-seven on the dot? Why should he leave the crust on only one side of his cheese sandwiches? He knew all of this was crazy, as was stirring tea with his steak knife. Nevertheless, he’d never been able to suppress his obsessions. The more he tried to conquer his disorder, the worse it seemed to get. Just recently, he’d realized that he’d come to hate books of haiku… He couldn’t stop reading them as seventeen syllable sentences.


*What’s an American paragraph?

This is something that I just made up! It’s a paragraph comprised entirely of American sentences.


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!

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