I recently started reading Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius. In it, she introduces and explains "American sentences". American sentences were introduced by beat poet Allen Ginsburg. Simply put, American sentences are made up of seventeen syllables, just not in the 5-7-5 format of the traditional haiku. Ginsburg thought this made more sense for American writers. He may be right but I'm not convinced by his reasoning, which is that the traditional 5-7-5 structures forces the writer to focus too much on counting and not writing.
No matter which format I use I'm still counting. I say, if you are going to break away from tradition, break away! I rather prefer Jack Kerouac's version of haiku which is still three lines, but freed from the number of syllables used. Here are a few of Kerouac's from his Book Of Haikus published by Penguin:
Early morning with the
happy dogs —
I forgot the Path
In the sun
the butterfly wings
like a church window
Here is an American sentence by Ginsburg:
Four skinheads stand in the streetlight rain
chatting under an umbrella.
I like both styles for the brevity but also for the strong visual impact. I think I'll try a few of each, American sentences and new haiku and traditional haiku this weekend. It will be a good way to get my mind off of the unpleasantness of the work week.