Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Unpublished haiku by Allen Ginsberg?

I'm reading The Selected Letters of Alan Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. Somewhere along the way I seem to remember running into some advice by Ginsberg that following the 5-7-5 syllable format makes no sense in English. Indeed, he developed an American haiku format called the "American Sentence": seventeen syllables, not split into three lines, maximum condensation. There's more to it than that, and you can read more here and here.

During my googling I discovered this post on Yoga for Cynics. The author claims that Ginsberg wrote the following impromptu "haiku" at an event at Naropa in '90 or '91. It doesn't follow the American Sentence format, being 23 syllables by my count, but that is a much more mystical number than 17.

Just wandered in from
the void for a poetry
reading, the next morning
I was hung over.

Here's my first ever American Sentence:

Bluejays crowd sparse limbs, squeaky cries reminding me of rusty hinges.

Try it - it's fun. Post yours here as a comment if you wish.


Crystal said...

Yeah! I always appreciate a new form of poetry/expression. However, I prefer the mystical 23, so here's my contribution:

My cold numb toes
Cause me to fall
as I slog through wretched snow
icy tears fall
yearning for spring

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Nice one!

What shall we call the 23-syllable poem as a form?

Crystal said...

hmmm, about about a Mystical Madrigal . . . or an Orphic Ode . . .

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

I like 'em both, sweetie!