In, or: Out

An American sentence in 10 words:

Occasionally, I wonder which of my forebears was first exiled.

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.


The above American Sentence was first written for the #PenYourTen Twitter prompt; the prompt word was: ‘First’. This prompt requires a response of exactly 10 words.

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!

27 thoughts on “In, or: Out”

  1. A very interesting question. I have a very good idea about my mother’s side of the family but my father’s side is shrouded in darkness – WWI and WWII and the holocaust made it difficult, Those from Russia (pre- revolution) are almost impossible to trace and the others that were nomadic Roma likewise are just shadows from the past…

      1. Works better with the missing verb (and syllable) – ‘took’ – from my first exile’s first step. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Perhaps your first exile only goes back to the Babylonian thing of BCE 6th century?

          1. “Never lose a holy curiosity.” Albert Einstein

            Zedekiah, original name Mattaniah, (flourished 6th century bce), king of Judah (597โ€“587/586 bce) whose reign ended in the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of most of the Jews to Babylon. -Brittanica

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