Random acts, or: Kindness

An American sentence:

A stranger’s reusable bag tore; I carted her groceries home.

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!

30 thoughts on “Random acts, or: Kindness”

  1. I think this American sentence deserves a good deed merit badge. I wonder about the bag person being a “stranger” and a “her,” and the bag being “reusable”–how these facts might bear, if at all, on the randomness versus the kindness of the deed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. in truth – a big part of my motivation was to teach my seven-year-old by example to be kind to people ๐Ÿ™‚

      the stranger’s being female had nothing to do with it, but her being a stranger made it feel like more of a mitzvah


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