Last week I tried something new with my frosh students. The activity wasn't new, actually--it's been around for at least a decade--but it was new to me. I had my class take a look at some wonderful poetry written by George Ella Lyon at http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html. After I gave it a shot, I had them write their own. The results were amazing!
Check out my humble attempt below.
I am From
I am from corn fields
from giant combines and grain elevators
I am from long winters that seemed to last ten months
(White, stinging snow
that looked like mud after being plowed)
I am from large back-yard gardens
with red tomatoes and green beans
and cucumbers that tasted so good when floured and fried.
I am from chicken and dumplings, yeast rolls, and potato soup
From drinking water from the hose
and riding in the back of the truck
I am from front porch swings that faced the lightening
Hearing the thunder with my frightened dog in my lap
I’m from the court, the track, the field
I’m from the volleyball net and the basketball hoop
The starting line and the high jump pit
that kept my focus and offered escape
I am from screaming coaches, squeaking shoes and lingering whistles
From heads up and mine and push through it
In a box in my closet are all my old yearbooks
Paper pages with paper covers, wrinkled and white
Thirty students in my class—smiling and serious
Teammates, classmates, friends to play kickball with
I am from those moments
Moments I left when still a child
Memories as faded as the pages
I think the key to a successful attempt at Where I'm From poetry, or any kind of poetry, is imagery. Readers like me appreciate an appeal to their senses. Give it a try!