Ded Moroz, or: Santa Claus

An American sentence:

Unlike Santa Claus, Ded Moroz wears outfits of various colors.

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Santa Claus and Ded Moroz have several superficial similarities: theyโ€™re old white men with long white beards, wearing heavy coats with white trim, giving out presents to the good little children… Nonetheless, Ded Moroz has a few distinctly Russian qualities, above and beyond the color of his coat.

-Eugenia Sokolskaya, ‘Grandfather Frost: More than Just Santa Claus’, Russian Life

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!

29 thoughts on “Ded Moroz, or: Santa Claus”

  1. I am a fan of GInsberg’s American Sentence. I have a few back at Alphabet City labeled as such.

    Years ago, when still studying Russian, we learned Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – phonetically Roodnik Olen Krasno Nosooi – who commandeered Ded Moroz’s sleigh –

    Hoping your 2022 is off to an excellent start to what will prove to be a wonderful year for you. —CC

    1. โค Carlos โค – thanks for visiting. May I ask what led you to study Russian? TBH, I was unaware that Ded Moroz had a Rudolph… I mean, it doesn't surprise me, but I wonder if that's something that was borrowed from the Santa Claus character.


      1. Hello David – Rudolph was wholly appropriated for the sake of the class developing seasonal vocabulary, the carols/seasonal songs being merely a vehicle for that. Dyedooshka Moroz was a given in lieu of any reference to Santa Claus. My grandparents are Ukrainian. —“CC”

        1. CC,

          ah – that makes more sense to me ๐Ÿ™‚

          I assumed you must have some roots in the FSU because most of the people I know who study Russian in college that I’ve known do… My mom has been teaching Russian part-time at Rutgers University for many years.


          1. I actually studied Russian in middle-school, through prep school. My grandmother spoke her dialect of Ukrainian, while my grandfather – who was also Ukrainian – somehow grew up speaking a more refined dialect of Russian. They are long gone. I miss them both and we cherish the culture they passed on. Peace. —CC

          2. CC, my father grew up in Moscow, but his parents were both from shtetls in Ukraine before WWII…

            But I have no idea if they spoke any Ukranian… Russian, yes. Yiddish, yes…

          3. My grandparents on that side came over in the early 1900s, my grandmother in 1914, as a 16 year old, just months before all hell breaks loose, and my grandfather as a teenager along with his brother years before that. They are from Bachory and towns around that area. I think folks who remained behind did not ultimately fare well. They were Greek Catholics – not Greek Orthodox – and spent their entire lives once here on the Lower East Side of NYC, living in railroad flats, with occasional summers upstate NY.

            Probably more than you wanted to hear. Thanks for listening. I look forward to reading more of you this year.

          4. I was under the impression that historically, Christianity and various derived forms of it (Catholic and otherwise), were the dominant Ukrainian faiths, with Judaism less prevalent. I am surprised at your surprise re: Catholics in Ukraine. ๐Ÿ™‚

          5. well, I assumed that the vast majority of Christians in Ukraine are Orthodox, rather than Catholic… one does not hear much about Catholics in Ukraine (at least I don’t, and my wife travels there regularly for work, and her family lives not too far away in Rostov, Russian)

  2. A great way to start the new year with a wonderful post. Wishing you a Happy, healthy and a prosperous new year. Looking forward to reading great posts from you.

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