The Poetry of Pork


Can you believe that I didn’t bookmark the original SPAM-ku web page back when I first stumbled across it, years ago, before the art of creating Japanese poetry based on potted meat grew into a worldwide internet phenomenon?

Me neither.

However, the true beauty of SPAM-ku (what some consider the SPAM limerick’s more cultured cousin), a form of haiku completely devoted to Hormel’s flagship meat product, lies in its accessibility to the masses. What started as a single whimsical website, the brain-child of some high-brow intellectual with low-brow taste in protein products, has ballooned into a virtual sensation, and examples of well written SPAM-ku abound across the reaches of cyberspace.

The tortured:

Formless spawn of pork,
Leers with gelatinous gaze,
Taunting my lean soul.
–William Bradford

The surprising:

I put my shoes on
But remembered far too late
My secret SPAM stash.

–Tom Elliott

The contemplative:

I stare, it stares back.
I long to know its feelings.
It demurs. Lunch, then.
–Drew Scott

The dramatic:

Three men in lifeboat.
No food ‘cept SPAM. Hour later:
Two men in lifeboat.
–Chris Fishel

The cautionary:

I sent her ninety
SPAM haiku to show my love.
She sent me a shrink.

If you cut open
A SPAM can with a jigsaw
The blade will smell weird.

Post-SPAM catharsis:
Peptic acid and pink chunks.
Floor-mount Pollock piece.
–John Nagamichi Cho

And I had to have a go, of course:

Full fat SPAM invites.
Cardiac arrest awaits
Dressed in sparkly gel.

Please, share your offering. After all, SPAM-ku is for everyone.

*Remember: 5, 7, 5
**For more inspiring SPAM-ku, check out the SPAM-ku archives.


12 responses »

  1. I might give a spam-ku a try another time, but I have a request: when you have time, will you please email me about being graded down for not sharing a professor’s point of view..or professors’ points of view if it happened more than once…

    I’m eager to learn what happened to you and would like to know more about how this happens to other students.

    It’s a problem I care a lot about and go out of my way to try to keep from happening in my courses.

    Did the liberal/conservative problem arise as you wrote about theology? morality? politics? social analysis? Biblical studies?

    I’m very curious, again, so I can learn more.

    Please email me. If you’d rather I didn’t use your email address, I won’t. I would prefer, however, reading about your experience in an email rather than in a blog post comment thread.

    thank you.

  2. SPAM sliced thin and fried,
    Chopped up, spread on toast-
    Never to touch my lips.

    πŸ™‚ But my husband loves it! He is only allowed to make this “delicacy” when I am out of town (it stinks up the house!)

  3. πŸ™‚ Agghh! My late-night haiku is not even a haiku. Here is the modified (and correct with 5,7,5 syllables) version:

    SPAM sliced thin and fried,
    Finely chopped and spread on toast
    Never shall I taste.

    (My poetry writing is well… Way out of practice!)

  4. Thank you, all who put pen to paper in service to the noble art of SPAM-ku. Your words brought tears to my eyes (or maybe that was just a side effect of imagining the odor of burnt SPAM wafting through the room.)

  5. Years ago my best friend and I formed a mock organization called S.P.A.M. (Several People Against Monotony). We published articles for friends to read about The Birthing of S.P.A.M. (how we got started) Official S.P.A.M. paraphernalia (you can only get into spam with a can key…at least that was true then) and honorary members of S.P.A.M.

    We also sought to advance the knowledge of mankind (postulating that Ambrosia-Greek for food of the gods-was really just a good quality chocolate ice cream, seeking funding for a study on the migratory habits of the North American Beer can, etc.)

    Thanks for the chuckles today, Katrina!

  6. Spam…………Sorry, never to touch my lips, as another said on this. I am a vegetarian, and that would surely never touch my lips. But when I was young and in Vietnam , such a delight. The Stickman

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