Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#20 of 31 Where I'm From

Each semester I use George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm From" as a mentor text as I teach inspire force  cajole students into writing poetry. This year, I really began to seriously write with them. Here is my poem

I'm from Comet
and Clorox and the white glove test.
I'm from using the back door
so you don't track dirt in the house.
I'm from tents on the clothesline 
on hot summer days
pretending to be queen of the castle.

I'm from spoon fudge and frozen Christmas cookies
(they always taste better that way).
From Don and Pat, who married too young.

I'm from playing Pitch and 
loving the lake.
From "Watch your sisters" and "Don't forget to get money from your dad."

I'm from strong Norwegian women
and the men who loved them
with a little Dutch and German stubborness
thrown in.

In the boxes in the closet
and the photo albums on the shelf
sit  memories of a past
I sometimes try to ignore
But will always be part of me.


  1. Nice poem! I'm doing poetry with my students now, too. I love writing with them because sometimes I forget how difficult it can be to write on command!

  2. I love Where I'm From poems! My students and I did them in the fall and it was such a powerful way to get to know each other. I think they are a great starting point for other slices too! Thanks for sharing yours -- I especially liked the part about the cookies!

  3. I've attempted to write one of these a few times, but i've never been able to get it quite right. Well done!

  4. Love that pic, sweet little Deb! It's a good assignment, & I love yours, Deb, that part with the dialogue especially.

  5. I love your Where I'm From poem. I spent some time writing one of these poems last summer and plan to have my students do this later in the spring. It was so powerful to really think about my childhood and all the things that define it. I really could feel your childhood home in this poem. The line about marrying too young is really powerful.

  6. Deb, this really gives such a picture of who you are. It's fun to know you loved frozen Christmas cookies, playing queen of the castle, and the lake. Those memories we try to ignore will always be a part of us.

  7. I miss doing this assignment with my was designated as a 7th grade thing in my building. I am not a fan of sharing. My favorite thing about doing this with my students is that it led to a great conversation with my mom in which I learned about the invention of ballpoint pens and plastic garbage bags and their impact on her life.

    The sweetest part of your poem is your pic. I can see YOU in the little girl. The part that stays with me about your poem though are the last three lines:
    ...sit memories of a past
    I sometimes try to ignore
    But will always be part of me.

    It is powerful, haunting-yet-satisfying conclusion.

  8. I have written this piece several times. I try to write fresh every time and I'm always amazed by the different things that come. I could have written about the clothesline tents and watch your sisters and don't forget to get money from your dad. And like several others, I love your last stanza. No matter how much we try to forget or ignore those things, they really are always part of us!

  9. This is such a great exercise, because it forces you to be concrete. You don't need many lines to build a lot. Sweet poem, Deb!

  10. The format seems easy but I find it actually rather difficult. Your choice of details surprised me, yet it made sense. It leaves me with a wish to hear more.