There are two different forms of spam haiku, or "spamku." One is poetry about the well-known processed meat product manufactured by Hormel Foods, and the other is a form of poetry created from email spam, utilizing subject lines and the content of spam emails. In both cases, the results can range from hauntingly compelling to simply nonsensical and funny, and many poets of all ages like to experiment with a bit of spam haiku when they're feeling bored.
In the sense of poetry about the SPAM® product, spam haiku is part of the complex and tangled cultural relationship with SPAM®. SPAM®has become an iconic food in many regions of the world, ranging from Hawaii, where it is treated like a delicacy, to Great Britain, where it is mocked in comedy skits. Whether one likes, hates, or is repulsed by SPAM®, this intriguing meat product has certainly inspired miles of verse.
Spam haiku made from spam email is a form of found object art. Spam email consists of unsolicited email which often contains unconnected strings of words and nonsensical garbage which is simply used to stuff the email so that it appears to have actual content. Spam also takes the form of product advertisements, for everything from suspect prescription drug sales sites to entirely legitimate companies. For many computer users, spam is a source of constant vexation, and spam haiku or spam poetry is one way of making lighthearted fun of the problem.
Some spam haiku is composed exclusively from subject lines, which can often be nonsensical or peculiar in some way. By using only subject lines, poets also protect themselves from malicious materials which can be embedded in such emails. Because haiku is renowned for being an already obscure and sometimes difficult to understand form of poetry, poems like: "Secret spoon/you said you'd call/ask about your degree" can seem surprisingly like works of art.
Other poets who work in the spam haiku genre choose to delve into the contents of spam emails. Often, the contents of spam seems like a postmodernist poem already, and with a few line breaks and a bit of cut and pasting, it can turn into a distinctive and unique poem.
Spam haiku could be said to be a fun-loving response to a serious irritation, but some people also think that it is a commentary on Internet society, and on art in general. Fans of the genre point out that spam haiku often reads like carefully crafted, meaningful literature, despite the fact that it is essentially garbage.