Where I’m From: Poetry Writing Exercise

In class, we read and discussed “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon to start our mini unit on poetry. To help all students see that they too can be poets, they wrote their own “Where I’m From” poem (side note: I first saw this exercise suggested in the Springboard curriculum).

Students shared theirs. I shared mine. And a classroom visitor even volunteered, leaving some kiddos speechless with her raw emotion.

To promote the sharing of writing, here is the first draft version I read to the class:

I am from the endless, weathered cornfields of an open land. Gravel roads and dust clouds in the rear view mirror.  The one finger waves and effortless smiles.

I am from the muddy lakes and rivers of a state conservative in its politics and speech. From the “How do you do” to “It’s all in God’s plan”. Hard, wooden pews and bonfires in the dark.

I am from the cold, white-tiled, church basements: punch bowls and pink-dyed wafer cookies with lemonade in styrofoam cups. Sundays half-gone from a morning spent inside.

I am from bare feet, sunsets over hills, and a band of grasshoppers stringing an ode to the summer dusk.

I am from the split branch of Diane Leigh and Mark Eric, the creation of close-knit family cohorts, vying for allegiance.

I am from endless support, endless love. The backdrop for a life of fighting the will to please and for undoing the difficulty to handle change.

I am from lessons learned: love thrives in presence, words live in action, and shoes–most definitely–should be worn when riding a bike.


3 thoughts on “Where I’m From: Poetry Writing Exercise

  1. Jaw dropping amazing. Well done. I’m sure you got to sneak a peek into your students lives with this assignment — very interesting, I’d assume.


    • You are too kind, Amy. Thank you for your note! 🙂 you gave me the idea of possibly posting a few lines of their poems–anonymously of course. I really enjoyed reading their poems…you were right about them being interesting. Learned a lot.


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