This week our IN-FORM POET explores a new form devised by our own Salvatore Buttaci. The form is called PUN-KU. Instead of giving an interpretation of the form, we’ll let its creator’s words speak for themselves. From Salvatore’s blog SAL’S PLACE:



Poetry today continues to entertain readers, inspiring poets to write a greater number of poems according to the requirements of established poetic forms. The sonnet, for example, did not die with Shakespeare, Milton, Petrarch and the other masters. It is still being written according to the required iambic pentameter and rhyme patterns set down centuries ago. In most instances all that has changed is that poets write sonnets without the antiquated language of the past.

Because poetry is dynamic, because we are not restricted to reading only the works of famous poets, most of who are gone from the literary scene, modern-day poets are creating new forms.

I would like to add still another new poetic form, which I call the PUN-KU. Here are the requirements for writing one.

(1) Unlike the haiku that allows for a less than strict adherence to the 17-syllable rule, the pun-ku must be exactly 17 syllables long.

(2) It contains only four (4) lines arranged syllabically as follows:

Line 1: 4 syllables Line 2: 5 syllables Line 3: 4 syllables Line 4: 4 syllables

(3) As for the end-rhyme pattern, Lines 1 and 2 do not rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 do.

(4) The pun-ku must contain a pun on one or more of the words used in the poem. The subject matter deals with human nature, is light, humorous, or witty.

(5) The title of the pun-ku can only be one- or two-words long (or short).

Here are two of my pun-ku for examples.


nothing is more


around these parts

than two cleaved hearts



strong lumberjacks

locate forest trees

then saw their bark

despite the dark


In the first example, the pun is on the word “cleaved,” which has two opposite meanings: “to cling together” and “to split apart.” In the second example, the pun is on the word “saw,” which can be defined as “a tool for cutting” and “the past tense of the verb ‘to see.’ ”

You might have fun writing a few pun-ku of your own!

Here are a few sites to visit if you’re looking to learn more about poetic forms. You can also do a search of “poetic forms” or type in a form and search for it.



Thanks Sal! Give Sal’s new form a try.


Marie’s PUN-KU:


Keith’s vacuuming.
He flashes a grin.
And I think, “Yup.
He’s sucking up.”

Walt’s PUN-KU:


She’s had her fill.
She’s sent him packing.
And now the house
has been de-loused.