Where I Am From

International Poem Writing Project

"Where I'm From" is a poem that is taught in classrooms throughout the world. Rooted in a study of personal identity, the poem template helps zoom into aspects that celebrate our individuality and prompts a personal exploration of background, home, childhood, upbringing, and family culture.

The poem's original author, George Ella Lyon, is a poet, writer, musician, storyteller, and teacher  who was inspired to write this poem when she read a book by fellow author Jo Carson titled 'Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet.' Within the text was the quote, "I want to know when you get to be from a place." This inspired her to go on a quest to find out just where she did come from.

Become Part of the Walden Story

Where are YOU from?

"Who am I?” is an essential human question and one that is especially on the minds of many children and adolescents. “Where I’m From” poems get beyond aspects of identity that are often more obvious and familiar (such as ethnicity, gender, and age) by focusing on other factors that shape our identities such as experiences, relationships, hopes, and interests. Where you're from isn't the town or state you live in; it's all the places, people, things, and ideas to whom, and with whom, you belong.

At Walden, we honor and celebrate diversity in all forms. In 2020, we will commemorate 50 years of our progressive, child-centered education. To usher in the anniversary year, we plan to publish a collective anthology of "Where I'm From" poems, bringing together voices across our community.

We hope to create a publication of poems and creations from all members of the Walden community, from Pre-K students to grandparents, to highlight the diversity of our origins forming the foundation for the strength of our present and future.

We would love to have you involved! Send your poems to whereIamfrom@waldenschool.net by January 30, 2020.

 

How to write your "Where I'm From" poem

"Where I’m From" By George Ella Lyon

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.
I am from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.
I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight. Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments—
snapped before I budded—
leaf-fall from the family tree.