• We can represent ourselves and our surroundings using mental maps: see "A Map of Mental States", (Clark, John H, 1983); "Maps of the Mind: the cartography of consciousness" (Eckartsberg, Rolf von, 1981). We can share these maps, giving others the freedom to choose routes.
  • Maps can be drawn using various projections. Some have non-uniform scaling. Sometimes (as in maps of the Metro) connections may matter more than accurate distances and directions - they are spacialisations of time rather than depictions of space.
  • In tourist maps as in poems there's a balance between mimesis, knowledge and the formal requirements of the medium. Clarity of purpose doesn't imply stylistic monotony. Symbolism and Realism can be mixed, viewpoints can change (from plan to elevation, from absolute to personal), keys can be set up or recommended narratives and connections highlighted.
  • Some poems work outwards from a few good lines but unlike maps, the overall picture is often not known beforehand. Details are integrated into an emerging whole, like designing the buildings of a city while drawing its map. There needs to be a compromise between starting at the self, working outwards, and working from the outside. In poetry both aspects are provisional, an exploration. There are no borders, only roads not taken.
  • A poem is a map to assist in locating oneself in one's evolving world of language, as one slowly discovers a voice. Our poems increasingly have the gaudy colouring and po-mo stylistic variety of city maps.