The wisest of words, or: Zero syllables

An American sentence:

I wonder whether the wisest of words are zero syllables long.


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!

27 thoughts on “The wisest of words, or: Zero syllables”

  1. Indeed, it’s a great sentence. Sometimes saying nothing is the wisest thing you can do. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I wouldn’t know
    But they say the
    In the Sound of Silence
    The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.

      1. Me too
        I love that song to…
        Hear my words that I might teach you
        Take my arms that I might reach you”
        But my words, like silent raindrops fell
        And echoed in the wells of silence

        Penned by Paul Simon

          1. Seriously my friend, a timeless piece, it has its resurrection moments, as in the very dark and lonely, isolating days of Covid.

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