Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Place for Poetry: Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry Lets Visitors Put Pen to Paper

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Place for Poetry: Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry Lets Visitors Put Pen to Paper

Article excerpt

Shaun Perkins said the idea for the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry came to her in a dream.

"This will sound corny, but I had a dream and the museum was in the dream," Perkins said in a telephone interview.

She opened the museum at 6619 S. 4382 Rd., a few miles west of Locust Grove in northeastern Oklahoma, in September 2012. The building was converted from use as a garage and barn on property owned by her family.

"My dad was a small engine repairman for most of his life," Perkins said. "I live right next to them on the property. He helped me convert the garage for the museum."

Perkins developed the museum with ways for people to interact with and personalize poetry.

"My focus with the museum is that poetry is one of the types of writing that people are kind of scared of," she said. "I want to show people of all ages that poetry is for you and that it has value."

The museum includes a vending machine that dispenses handwritten poetry, add-a-line poems on a chalkboard wall and displays designed to ask visitors to think creatively.

"There is a lot of paper and things you write on," she said. "It is not a typical museum at all. There are exhibits on things like symbolism. There are blocks where you can work on and create poetry. There is a secret corner. There are all sorts of things going on there."

All of the activities are not indoors.

"We have a poem treasure hunt on the land," Perkins said. "You can walk it or ride a golf cart."

The museum operates as a nonprofit. In December, the museum was awarded a $5,000 grant by the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. In April, Perkins plans to attend the PCA/ACA annual conference in Chicago, where she will be reading poetry.

The museum also has a series of events throughout the year. Her goal is to have one event monthly.

Events include Spring is Singing: A Celebration of Song, Poetry, and Spring on March 22 and the ROMP Poetry Festival on April 5. …

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