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Where I'm From

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In her poem “Where I’m From”, the Kentucky-based writer George Ella Lyon incorporates rhythm and detail to build an origin story. Notice, as you read each line, how a sense of self and history come together:

Where I'm From
I am from clothespins, 
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride. 
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening, 
it tasted like beets.) 
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

For this prompt, read the rest of Lyon’s poem here, and then borrow her repetition (“I am from”), gathering together your own memories and images in poetic form. As you write, keep the following in mind:
  • Select details that are specific; it is through specificity that the reader will be able to put herself in your shoes and relate to your experience.
  • Find interesting and fresh ways to capture details; your goal is for readers to feel like they’ve never seen something described in quite the same way.
  • Consider incorporating literary devices such as metaphor, alliteration, and imagery to add depth, color and richness to your piece. 
For more inspiration, read these brilliant pieces by our own Violeta Nicola and Angelina Nguyen.