September 13, 2011


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 whom are gone from the literary scene, modern-day poets are creating new forms. 

Here is a partial list of them with poet-inventors’ names in parentheses:

ALLOUETTE       (Jan Turner)
ARAGMAN         (Salvatore Buttaci in 2005)
BINA                    (Bob Newman)
BLITZ                   (Robert Keim)
BOP      (Afaa Michael Weaver)
CAMEO               (Alice Spokes)
CASCADE            (Udit Bhatia)
CLEAVE              (Phuoc-Tan Diep)
DETEN                 (Johnn Schroeder)
ETHEREE            (Etheree Taylor Armstrong) 
HAY(NA)KU       (Eileen Tabios) 
JORIO                   (Niels Stegeman)
LEFT-HANDED POEM     (Johnn Schroeder)
NOVE OTTO       (Scott J. Alcorn)
ROTHKO             (Bob Holman)
SEVENLING      [Anna Akhmatova (1889 - 1966)]
ZENO                    (Pat Lewis in 2009)

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. 


Salvatore Buttaci is the author of two flash collections published by All things That Matter Press and available at in book and Kindle editions. Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts.


  1. Posted on Facebook, but why not here, too? This is adapted from a likely apocryphal story about Chesterton:

    Arguments from
    neighbors' lots always
    fail- so aimless!
    Divers premise.

  2. Hi Sal, this is a great post. Thanks! I would also like to add my latest invention, Air Poetry, which is a poem that is distilled from conversation(s) swirling in the air where the poet happens to be. For further explanation and examples, check out I also have a Facebook Air Poetry page where anyone can post their Air Poems.