Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wednesday Muse: American Sentence

Hi Musers!  Good to see you all back from vacation. I just took a break and didn't do anything.  But I did think of some more prompts.

Today, I am going to introduce you all to the American Sentence if you haven't met it yet.  If you have, then I am helping you renew your acquaintance.  The American Sentence was created by Allen Ginsberg.  Ginsberg was born in 1926 in Newark. NJ and went to Columbia University in NYC.  He was one of the original Beat Poets along with Neal Cassady, Jack Keroac and William S. Burroughs.  As great and prolific a poet as he was, he couldn't get a handle on haiku, felt it didn't translate well into English.  LOL.  He was into Zen and into Japan but he couldn't do haiku.  I think it was the strict rules that he couldn't deal with.  Anyway, he created the American Sentence.  A complete sentence of 17 syllables that is a poem.

Odd?  Not really when you think that most of us write poetry in complete or incomplete sentences anyway.  Unlike haiku, the sentences can be titled.  We all have the thoughts that poetry has to be long and full of words.  Like the Japanese, I learned they do not.  So did Girnberg.  Here are a few below that he wrote to  inspire you:
  • "Tompkins Square Lower East Side N.Y."
  • "Four skinheads stand in the streetlight rain chatting under an umbrella."
  • "Put on my tie in a taxi, short of breath, rushing to meditate."
  • "That grey-haired man in business suit and black turtleneck thinks he's still young."
  • "Bearded robots drink from Uranium coffee cups on Saturn's ring."
  • "Crescent moon, girls chatter at twilight on the bus ride to Ankara."
  • "Salmonella Lesson - Who knew a tainted cantaloupe could force me to sit and write all day."
  • "Curiosity speaks - A stranger's glance and pointed finger prompted this poem I write, right now"
Ezra Pound once wrote:  "Condense, condense, condense" He would have better said "Condense."  I have been going through some of my older poems and condensing.  Do you ever do that?  Well, condense an old poem into a 17 syllable complete sentence or write a new one!  And here is a pic of handsome nerdy Allen (when he was young) to inspire you further.  Here is an American Sentence of my own:

Handsome nerdy Allen Ginsberg, couldn't write haiku so he created an all new poetry.


  1. Love the AS. Love Ginsberg! I met him once. He was curious where I got his book "Iron Horse", which I had brought for him to sign. (He also signed "Howl" for me.) I had got it while visiting my dad in California, years and years ago.

  2. How cool is this? I met Bob Dylan and he was a pretentious asshole.

  3. Whew. Smaller doesn't mean easier!

  4. Loved this prompt. Wish I had the time to do more. Thanks.

  5. Love the prompt Toni- working on one now!

  6. I love the prompt Toni! I hope to get something posted tomorrow. 😎