A form Allen Ginsberg invented to “Americanize” haiku, these are snapshots of the moment written by Paul E Nelson, one a day, for over eleven years. These are a sampling from most Februaries of the practice. More info at www.AmericanSentences.com. Below see the email exchange with people entrusted to manage Allen Ginsberg’s literary archives.
02.09.01 – One small spat & you reconstruct front room into bedroom-in-exile.
02.08.02 – Next to condom dispenser is written: This is the worst gum ever.
2.01.03 – 1st Israeli astronaut immolates over Palestine, Texas.
2.27.04 – Mother gives birth to six within a minute – like a popcorn popper.
2.15.06 – Do you remember the time when shoes lasted longer than shoelaces?
2.09.07 – Steve’s Civil Service motto: Why work for an asshole when you can be one?
2.16.08 – Today Pop tells me: I can’t complain, then he says the weather sucks.
2.23.09 – UNFAIR say the cat’s eyes – feather toy on the other side of the spokes.
2.10.10 – Sign in Charles Potts’ kitchen window: Loose women tightened here.
2.27.11 – I don’t remember what year it was Pop stopped smiling in photographs.
Dear AG people, I am a fan of Allen’s who interviewed him once. I’d like to have any information on American Sentences you can provide. Having written them daily for 5 years, I am charged with presenting a paper on this form in September. Any clues?
Thanks, Paul Nelson
Global Voices Radio
Subject: RE: American Sentences
Date: Mon, 9 May 2005
To: “Paul Nelson”
Dear Paul Nelson,
Sorry I’m just now getting back to you. I was digging around for something useful to send your way, but haven’t been successful. Haiku inspired using american diction. They evolved out of Haiku, but don’t adhere to the 17 syllable structure. That’s why he calls them what he does, and not Haiku. He does keep to the contrast structure: close up/long view and then what bring it all together old pond (far) the frog(near) jumped in, kerplunk (ties them together) Loosely that’s his angle on these, and you probably well know that. If I can come up with something a bit more, I’ll by all means send it your way.
Cheers, Peter Hale