Over 2016 we’ve been incredibly lucky to have Helen Clare as a Poet-in-Residence as part of the Learning and Engagement Team. Helen wanted to develop some learning experiences using poetry and was fortunate enough to receive funding from the Arts Council to work with us on developing this.
Helen has been recording her progress on her personal blog – so if you want to know more about the project do take a look.
In the meantime, here’s a short post Helen has written for us on how to create your own ‘poemlets’.
“Over the past few months I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time at the museum, writing children’s poems and learning materials as part of an Arts Council England funded project. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at things, visiting galleries and seeing those things I first missed and then looking again and again.
That opportunity to look again and again is both inspiring and dizzying, and it’s the basis of the the little writing exercise that I’m offering to the blog.
It involved ‘zooming in’ on just one object at once and asking it three questions.
- What do we say about the object?
- What does the object say about itself?
- What does it really mean?
Look at it really carefully and try and think about other senses as well – does it make a noise? What would it feel like if you could touch it? Does it smell? If it moved how would it move? You might want to think about its history – and all the lives it’s been in contact with. You might also find that it has opinions quite similar to your own and that’s ok. But equally it might surprise you with what it has to say!
And that’s it. There’s no need to fancy it up. When the wind blows right it forms a perfect little poemlet all of it’s own – although you may also wish to use it as the basis of something more substantial.
Here’s an example:
I am alien. I am earth.
We are all spacedust.
Iron Core of Meteorite: Campo del Cielo (Field of Heaven) Argentina, 16th Century
You can see that I’ve used the first question as the title – and that the title is bigger than the poem! You could use that first question in the poem – or you could take it off altogether and make a riddle.
Look at my huge feet, how easily they carry my weight.
It was a long way. It has been a long time.
Can you guess what this is in the Museum?* I’ll put the answer at the bottom of the blog.
It’s fun to take pictures to accompany your poemlets as well.
This is my tree. I have not moved all week.
I am more threatened than threatening. Let me sleep.
Green Tree Python
There are more of these poemlets on my personal blog at http://bucklesandbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/week-2.html
You can tweet your poems and your photos and tag the museum @mcrmuseum, the learning team @learningMM or me @haclare.
*Did you guess right? It’s Maharajah, the elephant skeleton from Manchester Gallery