Away from the child, or: She feared

An American sentence:

Her grandmother stayed home, away from the child, for she feared falling ill.

What’s an ‘American Sentence’?

Allen Ginsberg, inventor of the American Sentence, felt that the haiku didn’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!

19 thoughts on “Away from the child, or: She feared”

    1. I think of it like soy milk versus dairy milk.

      If you’re expecting dairy milk, you may be disappointed. If you accept it as something of its own, it becomes more enjoyable.

      All forms of poetry are arbitrary, and all offer something. To me, the American Sentence is something like Hemingway’s six word story.

  1. So nobody came to visit then?
    I don’t quite understand the sentence.
    Why would the child cause her illness?

    1. Abi, the interpretation of the sentence is up to the reader… But the sentence doesn’t say that “nobody” came to visit… only that the grandmother stayed home. As to why the child might cause the grandmother to fall ill – that’s not stated explicitly.


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