A museum is typically described as a building that contains and displays objects of specific and lasting interest. Imagine a museum that holds a vast array of unlikely things, surprising things, things you’d never expect to find in a museum collection. Imagine a collection of emotions or lost lovers. Imagine a display of people you’ve known. Imagine a depository of negative and positive things. Now imagine yourself a metaphor for museum. What things do you keep inside?
For this prompt, let’s focus on museums of the unusual, the fantastical, the unreal, as well as on museums of the real. That sounds like a tall order but, before you give up, consider the possibilities. Here's a chance for you to create your own museum, to work with metaphors, to dig deeply into any "collection" you'd like to create in a poem. So ... fill in the blank and make your museum!
1. Begin by creating a title. Here are some suggestions (feel free to use any one of these or to come up with one of your own):
The Museum of Unlikely Objects
The Museum of Places I’ve Been
The Museum of Broken Hearts
The Museum of People I Can’t Forget
The Museum of Things I Wish I’d Never Seen
The Museum of Lost Loves (or Lost Lovers)
The Museum of Turned Corners
The Museum of Yesterday’s Dreams
The Museum of Dinosaur Spines (think in terms of metaphor for this one)
The Museum of Blank Canvases
The Museum of Unacceptable Options
2. After you’ve chosen a title, either free write for a while or list “things” that are good fits for your museum.
3. Begin writing your poem with an opening line designed to spark interest.
4, Continue writing about the items in your museum. Include details to bring each item to life. Use some similes. Move from item to item.
5. As you journey the exhibits and corridors of your museum, don't be afraid to add a touch of the surreal or a dreamlike mood. Venture into unfamiliar territory.
6. Conclude with a bang, not a whimper.
1. Don’t clutter your poem with too many items.
2. Remember that a good poem does more than state the apparent. It should have an obvious subject and an underlying subject (or subjects) that give breadth and depth to the obvious meaning.
3. Create an emotional center for your poem.
4. Be very careful not to simply create a list—go for impact. Be lyrical, paradoxical, and edgy at the same time.