With, or: Without language

An American sentence:

We can think without language, but language lets us know we are thinking.


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!

37 thoughts on “With, or: Without language”

  1. Or maybe it allows us to share our thoughts. I think we do many things that involve thinking without using words in the process. All those things we “can’t put into words” (k)

  2. And I dream without words and still can’t articulate what was experienced – most of the time… It is wonderful to be able to grasp a dream and give it voice!

  3. Amazing
    Like my little one was saying to me the other day after i enquired about something, he says to me…
    “One moment, I’m just reading my mind quickly ”
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

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