a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.
the punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court, or fixed by law for a particular offense.
“her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud”
judgment, ruling, decision, verdict, punishment More
declare the punishment decided for (an offender).
“ten army officers were sentenced to death”
pass judgment on, punish, convict; condemn, doom
“they were sentenced to death”
What is an American Sentence? Created by beat poet Allen Ginsberg, it’s a seventeen-syllable sentence.
For example, I wrote this 17-syllable sentence when I was trying to comprehend the fact that Donald Trump in the President of the United States of America :
When I think about America today – man, like I have no words.
I never imagined in my worst nightmares Donald Trump would become President of the United States. I’m amazed that a three-time-divorced-six-time-bankrupt-possible-pedophile-rapist-racist-con-man who can barely string a comprehensible sentence together is President of the United States. It’s devastating to me as a woman that half of America thinks that’s ok. Just saying his name is a trigger for me.
As time goes on with America in the time of Trump, I see that the gift of his presidency is the exposure of wrongness within our political system. Exposure needed to happen. (On both sides, too. The DNC and the electoral college both proved to be corrupt as well – it should have been Sanders vs. Trump, not Clinton).
What does it mean to be American? I’ve wondered that my whole life. As a kid, I didn’t fit in, and realized pretty early on, I didn’t want to fit in. I wasn’t into conforming, and my interpretation of the Constitution was that it was my right not to conform.
When I was 11 years-old, the principal of my school told me I would have an easier life if I “stopped striving for excellence and just looked pretty, sat down, and stayed quiet – after all – the world caters to the lowest common denominator. It’s too bad that smart kids get left out.” His advice to me has been the advice to my generation – and it’s only gotten worse! (Look what we have ended up with)!
A Cult of Ignorance is the sentence to America for 30+ years of catering to the lowest common denominator.
American Sentence began in February, 2017, shortly after Trump took office. I intended to finish the project in 108 days and then more unthinkable things happened. Two days after I began the project, my partner had an aneurysm and needed open heart surgery. The situation was traumatic for both of us, and made worse by his mother’s open hostility toward me. I poured so much love and care into his recovery – writing and art took a back seat. Sleep took a back seat. I took a back seat.
By the fall of 2017, our relationship fell apart. Looking back, I was a walking raw nerve for over a year – completely stripped and vulnerable. The anniversary of his surgery (February 2018), I broke down crying in yoga class, and that was the beginning of healing for me.
Creative play is reentering my life! I am back to writing and painting and playing and creating workshops. I am making 17-syllable sentences again. The American Sentence Project is proving to be a small step in honoring my own humanity as I navigate my own life and the implications of so much corruption in American politics. (updated February 5th, 2019)
Below are links to every sentence:
American Sentence – Day 11: And the Sun Sets
American Sentence – Day 14: Deep Roots and Falling Apples
American Sentence – Day 15: Upon Awakening . . .
American Sentence – Day 16: why are you here?
American Sentence – Day 17: Such a Gamble when you get a Face
American Sentence – Day 18: So Cold
American Sentence – Day 19: New Rhythm
American Sentence – Day 20: Your mother needs to go
American Sentence – Day 21: You, Jane
American Sentence – Day 22: So serious it’s funny
American Sentence – Day 23: Sometimes the Moment
American Sentence – Day 24: White Pony
American Sentence – Day 25: Look up! Beauty has no borders
American Sentence – Day 26: Sunset Messenger
American Sentence – Day 27: Sweet Fox Face
American Sentence – Day 28: PSA – There is no “they”
American Sentence – Day 29: Fickle
American Sentence – Day 30: Walk Away
American Sentence – Day 31: Blood Thicker than Sun Thicker than Love
American Sentence – Day 32: Frightened Fox
American Sentence – Day 33: Here for a Reason
American Sentence – Day 34: Warm Winter Blue
American Sentence – Day 35: Salt and Dust
American Sentence – Day 36: Sweet Habit
American Sentence – Day 37: Grace
American Sentence – Day 38: Perfect Ride
American Sentence – Day 39: Clues from a Friend
American Sentence – Day 40: How to Mountain Bike
American Sentence – Day 42: After Durga Embodiment
American Sentence – Day 43: fox on the Run
American Sentence – Day 44: Slow Fade Out
American Sentence – Day 45: Sunny Joy
American Sentence – Day 46: Love for the Taking
American Sentence – Day 47: Small Gifts