Writing Exercise: Where I’m From


“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’m 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 a 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. 

Create your own “Where I’m From” poem

  1. Choose central character (yourself, friend, family member, or historical figure).
  2. Jot down list of things that are SPECIFIC to the character that make him/her special. For example:

Write list of things done, seen, tasted, touched, said, felt and/or heard.
Write list any important family information
Write list of hobbies or special interests
Write list of any important details of past or future
Write something that is always said about the character or TO the character

3. Combine information to reflect style of Lyon’s poem.

Have fun with this one! And let us know in the comments below what you think of it.