Size, or: What matters

An American sentence:

What is the smallest component of a poem that conveys meaning?


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!

15 thoughts on “Size, or: What matters”

  1. One word โ€“ one line โ€“ one stanza? To me? So much is carried in small packages by great poets โ€“ and writers, and artists of images (created or captured) โ€“ often? I am transported in a moment, other times? I re visit to try to learn what I โ€˜missedโ€ and sometimes? I think, โ€œMeh โ€“ doesnโ€™t matter whether they or me โ€“ I simply donโ€™t have a lifetime to spend trying to figure it outโ€™ which is why Iโ€™m not a โ€˜professor/educatorโ€™ on such fronts โ€“ LOL

      1. Well the sentence is so versatile and a prompt to a variety of answers
        So I took a chance, since poetry is made up of lines and each line reflects back a meaning, I thought it the most fitting smallest component.
        But reading Muri now, I think she understood your question perfectly, one word, it is the “I”.

        David allow me to wish you and your household a wonderful New Year’s Eve ๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽˆThe year at the threshold has so much to offer you and I wish you personal and professional success.
        Blessed 2023 to you and yours. โค

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