The American Sentence

by Jason Rolfe

ginsberg-65-apI’ve always wanted to write poetry. I’ve tried countless times, but I just don’t think I’m very good at it. I write a specific type of poetry every day – an American Sentence. Limited to seventeen syllables, these sentences were Ginsberg’s answer to the Haiku. I’ve written an American Sentence every single day since September 27, 2011 as a means of waking my brain. Some, I think, are good. Others, I suspect, are bad. Occasionally I try my hand at something longer, but these pieces rarely do well in the court of critical opinion. As a writer I need to recognize both my strengths and my limitations. I would love to write 19th Century Russian literature, for example, but that’s just not going to happen. That being said, I will never stop filling notebooks with American Sentences. For seventeen brief syllables I can almost imagine I’m a poet!