Note to self, or: Hypocrisy

An American sentence in 10 words:

Delay unequivocally costs us our lives; best to take chances.

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: ‘Delay’. 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!

12 thoughts on “Note to self, or: Hypocrisy”

  1. An English sentence is very similar to an American one except:
    It may, or may not, all fit in one line โ€“ after all, thereโ€™s no law against waffling on for much longer than is strictly necessary, is there?
    It may, or may not, contain 17 syllables, depending largely upon whether the writer knows what a syllable is.
    May, or may not โ€“ after all, itโ€™s not easy to tell, is it? โ€“ contain prevarication or non-sequiturs (or do I mean secateurs?)
    Will almost certainly be incomplete and grammatically incorrect, innit?
    Will be enlightening only to someone who is less enlightened than the writer.
    I, too, tried to do one, but I got absolutely nowhere near it.

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