The gushing rush of words

An American paragraph*

(an experimental form)

Tired to the point of his brain shutting down, he couldn’t focus at all. Poetry, it seemed, wouldn’t be forthcoming until he got some sleep. However, sleep was quite elusive these days, for he dreamed in verses. That was always agitating, causing him to clench his teeth at night. It never took long for the gushing rush of words to sweep over him… And his fingers would start typing out stanzas upon his comforter. Then, even asleep, his hands would feel around for a solid keyboard. Finding none, they would prop his torso up and flop his legs out of bed. Sometimes, he would awaken at midnight sitting at his computer. “Damn it all to hell,” thought the bard and poured himself another coffee.

*What’s an American paragraph?

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

Whatโ€™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!

41 thoughts on “The gushing rush of words”

  1. Some poets eat, drink, breathe and sleep poetry. Sounds like your subconscious is in overdrive! I say bravo on the American Paragraph and “sleep writing verses”!

  2. This is great! I have written a handful of poems and stories comprised entirely of American sentences. because of the need to condense to create a good American Sentence, I find that the stories that write this way have an extremely quick pace.
    And since I am discussing American Sentences, I wonder, is there a such thing as an American Tanka: a two line poem where the first line is 17 syllables and the second line is 14 syllables?

  3. Brilliant work shaping a new form, David. Kudos! Wow.
    And a wonderful ode to the poet’s mantle. I love your depiction of inspiration as an occasionally inconvenient muse.

  4. A fun “American” creation, David. Clever! You are always stretching those poetic muscles. Something tells me your paragraph might be more truth than fiction. ๐Ÿ˜

  5. Intriguing. Not to be nit-picky, but by my count, I believe that first sentence is 18 syllables. Unless Iโ€™m counting wrong. (I did use my fingers to count with after all.) ๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. โค Star โค

      Here's how I break it down:

      Tired | to | the | point | of | his | brain | shut | ting | down | he | could | nโ€™t | fo| cus | at | all


      1. Yes, I suspected you were counting it that way but โ€œtiredโ€ is two syllables โ€œti-redโ€. Your jaw drops twice hence two syllables. Bet irregardless, itโ€™s a lovely poem. Kudos on creating a new paragraph form. Letโ€™s see if it catches on! It could be known at DbA paragraph! ๐Ÿคญ

  6. Hm. amazingly like straight up “prose.” A vignette. A flow of consciousness. A swell read. Not sure everything – every form – has to have a name.

      1. So. Curiously, why must it be “an American Paragraph”? Can it not just be titled “Gushing Rush of Words” [unbranded] prose? Weary of societal penchant for he/she/they, left/right, conservative/liberal, vegan/piscan, and so on. What an old fuddy-duddy am I (he/his).

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