The Science Museum Group cares for 7.3 million items that span science, technology, engineering, medicine, transport, and media. From space modules to netsuke, one of the earliest HMV Gramophones to The Flying Scotsman: these objects are often unusual, all important and unbelievably fantastic.
For a second year, we are inviting poets to share work inspired by these objects – especially those picked by using our random object generator or our online tool Never Been Seen, which highlights objects not seen by the public before.
The length and form of your poem needs no limits. It can be inspired by historical fact or your own imagination. The Poetry Project is intended as an opportunity to open our collection to new perspectives and to “slower looking”, placing more consideration on the thoughts and feelings the objects incite.
Last year we received fantastical, creative, and varied submissions on themes ranging from protest and love to the imagined history of a sacred stone. To get your creative juices flowing, here is one such example, by Diane Woodrow, who used a bell-shaped bronze mortar jar from the collection as her inspiration:
I waited on the shelf, hands on hips, wondering what the plan would be.
I listened from the shelf, hands on hips, hearing the plan discussed
I watched from the shelf, hands on hips, observing the plan unfold.
I was pulled from the shelf, hands on hips, as the plan developed.
I was placed on the bench, hands on hips, becoming part of the plan.
I stood firm on the bench, hands on hips, as the plan reached fruition.
Read this blog post to find Diane’s poem and the other 2021 successful submissions.
This year, the deadline for submissions is Sunday 18 September, midnight. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel and successful poems will be posted on our website for National Poetry Day on 6 October 2022 and shared through the Science Museum’s social media channels.
If you would like to submit a poem, or if you have any questions, please email [email protected]. T&Cs apply.