In body, or: In spirit

An American sentence:

By nature, the body always fights to live, but the spirit may not.


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 “In body, or: In spirit”

  1. The idea that the body is always willing while the spirit may be weak, drove me to it.
    Body (singing): Staying alive! Spirit (sighing): What fools mortals be.

    1. But that doesn’t mean that her body isn’t doing everything it can to live – just because it’s losing the battle… that doesn’t mean that her body doesn’t want to live.

  2. This makes me think of my friends who have experienced Alzheimer’s or dementia where the body could live many more years but the memory and spirit has died… They are familiar bodies who look like the people they once knew and loved…..

  3. I think youโ€™re onto something about the efficacy of a 17 syllable English sentence. Certainly not going to argue with Allen Ginsberg. Heโ€™s published in anthologies. I am a fledgling bloggist! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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