Elizabeth G. Burton just send this in…Wow!

Where I’m From

By Elizabeth Burton


I am from electric fences,

from hay mowed up the hillside.

I am from horses nobody wanted,

and wayward dogs

pushed from cars to find a home.

(They cried in the night

until I found them.)


I am from the in between

of bluegrass and coal

where the townsfolk say

ambition is above your raising.

I am from Miriam and Leon

who ignored the townsfolk.

I am from where people leave.


I’m from autoharps and fiddles,

from four-part harmonies sung

to a pump organ

in a white clapboard church.

I am from women should be silent.

I am from women who are made

of big words.


I’m from the Legend

of the Sharkey brothers,

their lost treasure sending

children into woods

filled with blackberry branches

and a town so long abandoned

tins of Sunlight Soap sit in

the general store window.


I am from cornbread

and buttermilk biscuits,

from the lung my mother

lost to a tumor,

the college job my father

lost to politics.


In my parents’ closet,

jewelry boxes lined the edges,

generations of memories

stored in their velvet insides.

On rainy days,

my mother would remove

select pieces,

encircle me in her words,

let me dream of the day

I, too, would have stories to tell.




Here is Brianna Williams sweet poem!

I am from different houses
From this school and a new school
I am from a yellow home in a cul de sac
(Green, warm air, feeling like home)
I am from the tree that hangs in the front yard
From swinging upside down
I am from sitting at home eating too much cookie dough
From always running into the screen door
I am from strict families
From “If I don’t know them you can’t go” and “I don’t think so
I’m from Elkton, Virgina
I’m from the green mountains and small dainty towns
From the hot summer nights laying in bed
The bugs buzzing around the skies
The quiet nights sitting in bed
And all the past nights I’ve taken for granted



A beautiful overlay of text and poem..so beautiful what we can do …how we can see where we are from..

By Diane Mayr

I am from

Just in: A Class sent along poems…school is awesome for this..Here they are!


I Am From

Cole Conley


I am from baseball fields

from bats and gloves.

I am from the Ranch on 33

Warm, Welcoming, Always inviting friends and family over for some fun.

I am from The Weeping Willow Tree

I always used to sit under with my grandma.

I’m from Pumpkin carving on halloween nights and blue eyes and butt chins

From listening to Lams and putting up with the Conleys

I’m from the short tempered and apologetic family

From “pick up your toys” and “never say never”

I’m from amazing grace to saying prayers at night

I’m from Harrisonburg Virginia and the hills of Ireland

deer meat, to cole slaw.

From the joys of fighting with Summer and Sydney.

The hot summers of spraying Clee with a water hose.

Childhood memories plastered on the walls

in my Grandmas house there are generations of pictures locked away for a rainey day.


I Am From

Skylar Coffey


I am from a light oak rocking chair,

From Beanie Babies and Crayola Crayons.

I am from the pristine grass on the lawn.

(Bright green, fresh,

and always feather soft on your heels)

I am from the weeping willow in the front-yard,

the leaves drifting in the breeze, skimming the ground softly.

I am from Christmas dinners and kaleidoscope eyes,

From Crystal and Mary.

I’m from the snarky attitudes

and always having the last word,

From “don’t let the bed bugs bite” and “don’t forget your prayers.”

I’m from the worn wooden cross

sitting humble on the top of a hill.

I’m from the University of Virginia, and feathered hair,

Lemon pound cake, and sugar-filled coffee.

From the splintered hole

shaped by my uncle’s fist,

The snickering laugh inherited from the whole family, that warns mischief on the way.

Aged cookbooks and bibles stacked high on a shelf, that holds all of my family secrets,

I am from those coffee stained pages that hold the truth of my past present, and future.




I Am From

Alex Czerwinski


I am from baseball tournaments

From  the slugger bat  and my Wilson mit

I am from the “White Castle” on Peterson Place

Dark, Lonely, in the search for a better group of friends to be around

I am from red roses

So beautiful it hurt to touch

I’m from Sunday’s at Nana’s and bad eyesight

From cool uncle Rusty and crazy uncle Vince

I’m from depression and anxiety

From “dream big” and “never stand down”

I’m from a religious family, but sleeping in on Sunday

I’m from ham with gravy and buttered rolls

From the late night sneak outs

Running around

Looking for the light

I have not found



I Am From by Zachary Shuff

I am from the gnar
From xbox and hula hoops
I am from the heart of the nut
Warm, cozy, beautiful
I am from the deer
Wandering through the yards
I am from camping and running
From Vickis and Jordan
I’m from the annoying and controlling
From “Santa is real and that the world doesn’t revolve around me”
I’m from the church of the brethren, at mount olive on pineville road
I’m from charlottsville and the elite microwave owners
Sun butter, Meatloaf
From the burning of my scalp by my favorite family member
The brain of my sister that is shared with me
Scrapbooks of memories on the dusty shelves
Never to be opened or loved for the rest of time


I Am From by Dalton Jefferson


I am from Rock Em Sock Em Robots
From Nike kicks and DeMarini bats
I am from the big blue house on the hill
Old, creaky, where the paint crumbles off the shutters
I am from fresh cut grass
That makes me sneezy and itchy
I’m from Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house and long legs
From Paw Paw and Uncle Brian
I’m from the functioning alcoholics and “bloom where you are planted”
From “finish your dinner before you eat dessert” and “eat that, it’ll put hair on your chest”
I’m from Christianity, but only on Easter and Christmas
I’m from the shitty Sentara workers and good ole boys out on the farm
Hot chili on a cold day and hot pot pie on any day
From the Granddad who stole an Ambulance
The old man that played at Tech, (sorta)
The foyer walls that hold these memories
The pictures on the walls tell the stories of our lives


I Am From

Sarah Michael


I am from bonfires

From s’mores and hot dogs

I am from the white two – story on Creekside

warm, inviting, always burning seasonal candles

I am from the maple tree,

that changes as the seasons pass

I’m from Christmas mornings at Grandma’s house  and uncontrollable laughter

From Tony Midgett and good old George

I’m from the nonstop jokes and never-ending sacrifices

From “I love you to the moon and back” and “Whose side are you on”

I’m from Sunday sitting in a pew, and Wednesday sitting in a circle

I’m from the hectic northern Virginia and the rainy hills of Ireland

Homemade pumpkin pie and chinese food Friday at Grandma’s

From the stick that caught on fire and burned my brother Andrew’s stomach

The old camper with the latch Jake could not unlock

In the chest my aunt kept in her living room, bundles of pictures and memories throughout the generations

I am from captured moments that mold me




Where I’m From

Alexandra Stover

I am from pale purple walls,

from American Girl Dolls and Hannah Anderson dresses.

I am from the ranch style house, cozy enough for three.

(Warm, inviting,

radiating cinnamon sticks and cloves.)

I am from the chestnut trees

I can feel the crunch of the burrs under my bare feet.

I am from fishing on the Shenandoah with my father and beady brown eyes,

from Lucille Smith and Margaret Stover.

I am from the sarcastic compassion and “You can do better Alexandra”

from “Just breathe” and “You worry too much.”

I am from “Methodist ‘til we die,” the granddaughter of a devout minister

I am from Rockingham County and the hicks of the Eastern Shore

Venison and Corn Pudding.

From the young girl who witnessed injustice in the form of segregation,

the house fire that claimed all belongings of another

I am from the black-and-white memories caught on camera,

hanging in the family room- reminding me of the love I harbor within.


I Am From

Andrew Lam


I am from a video game

From a Xbox and Wii

I am from small carpet room

(Small, Cozy, and full of a family’s love)

I am from the cherry blossom tree

A reminder of the nature’s beauty in a urban street

I’m from Christmas eve at grandmother’s and pale skin

From Scott and Patricia

I’m from the religious worshiping and discipline

From “Never give up” and “Your the best in our eyes”

I’m from church, no matter where it is

I’m from Elkton and a mystery european nation

Corn and Mac and Cheese

From the Father and Mother who both tried to fulfil their duties

unlike the parents before them



I am From

Adelyn Keenan

I am from the sheer pastel curtains,

From walls lined with photo frames and fairy stickers peeling off the headboard.

I am from my old bedroom.

(Bright, inviting, natural light flowing in from the wall of windows.)

I am from the hydrangea bush outside my window,

The light blue flowers concealing my view of the world completely.

I’m from driving around looking at Christmas lights and wiry eyebrows spiked at the ends,

From Julie and Shawn.

I’m from the aggressiveness of a Keenan and the passiveness of an Owens,

From “Don’t be shy, come say hello” and “There’s no need to be upset”

I’m from atheism, unbelieving

I’m from iHop and Sunday school in Elkton,

Corn on the cob and pink lemonade.

From the Vietnam veteran who found love in America,

The hereditary anxiety that holds my sister hostage.

A dozen family photo albums decaying at the dump, only a handful of pictures saved,

Disturbing memories rotting away with the abandoned albums.


 I Am From

Brooke Detwiler


I am from a pink princess cd player

From princess dresses and fairytale movies

I am from the light green and pink walls

Joyful screams, endless laughs, hours playing in my room with my sister

I am from dandelions

Running through patches like Belle in my favorite childhood movie

I am from Christmas eve gifts and Christmas day dinner

From Grandad and Uncle Tracy

I’m from the overbearing voices and loud footsteps

From “don’t swallow bubble gum or your going to toot bubbles”

and “always say please and thank you”

I’m from a family of god, who doesn’t attend church regularly

I am from Floyd Circle

Mac and cheese and steak dinners

From 13 brothers and sisters my great grandmother had

The the son my mother lost

In the hallway closet is a stack of picture books,

Dating back to when my mother was a little girl

I am from those pages,

Old but still attached

Remembrance of who I was

And space for who I will be


I Am From

Helen Jefferson



I am from the softball fields

From cleats and headbands

I am from the house at the bottom of the hill

(Yellow, bright, felt like sunshine)

I am from the sunflowers,

The ones who stand tall in the summer and fall in the winter

I’m from Sunday dinners and stubbornness

From Katherine and Janet

From the know-it-alls and the big mouths

From “Keep your mouth shut” and “Sit like a lady”

I’m from the hypocritical Christians that don’t accept people that are unlike them

I’m from the Shenandoah Valley and the hills of Greece

Hamburgers at 3 in the morning, Waffles with Apple butter

From the Pentagon meeting on 9/11 my grandma was at,

The addiction of my grandma forcing my mother to grow up too soon

The scrapbook in my basement telling the story of how my mother went into labor with me,

I am from these pages describing the joy my dad felt holding me for the first time,

The love my parents have for their children

And the mistakes of their parents they refused to make.



I Am From

Alana Slekar


I am from burning candles

From a rainbow tattoo sleeve and R.E.M.

I am from the log cabin house

cozy, warm, the stone chimney crackling away, adding to the always-lingering aroma of smoke

I am from picking sassafras roots,

dirt lodged under my nails and hot tea burning my lips

I’m from Seven Springs and the Slekar pout

From Uncle Vince and the Hudak clan

I’m from the “Yinz,” the “Still Mills”  and “DahnTahn”

From the “M” on the whale’s tongue and the octopus lurking in the depths of the hot tub

I’m from “you’re baptised as a Catholic to please your grandparents,” always keep an open mind, and science holds the true answers of the universe

I’m from Harrisonburg, Virginia and middle-of-nowhere, Slovakia

Hulishki and perogies on Christmas Eve

From Pop’s best friend, Billy the Crow, that watched over the yard like a guard dog

The adventures of Pap as a meteorologist back in ‘Nam

The memoir my grandfather has been working on for the past ten years

The ever so tangled tree, whose branches support love, hardships, and family bonds.

-Alana Slekarl, 17






These poems dig in. They celebrate. They are honest and open. Human. Here is a new one by Rev. Sarah Renfro


Rev. Sarah Renfro


I am from lifted high in my Daddy’s arms and the community of faith

I am from my mother’s lap and my grandma’s shoulder

I am from free play and clay

I am from leotards and lipstick

I am from skinned knees and costumes

I am from Arts School and the basketball court

I am from Go Big Blue! and my Kentucky Wildcats

I am from big teeth and a wide smile

I am from masks and make-up, modeling and magazines

I am from pretty pictures and growing up too fast

I am from dieting and depression

I am from poor choices and a good heart

I am from wandering and wondering

I am from too many boys and not enough friends

I am from finding myself and therapy

I am from home again and off again

I am from marriage and divorce

I am from education and experience

I am from youth group and mission trips

I am from camp and counseling

I am from called and service

I am from justice and disappointment

I am from feminism and patriarchy

I am from activism and peace

I am from new life and hope

I am from mental illness and medication

I am from dance parties and deep discussions

I am from pain and perseverance

I am from joy and motherhood

I am from losing it and loving it

I am from partnership and companionship

I am from cheese and wine

I am from writing and writer’s block

I am from transition and stability

I am from sisterhood and servanthood

I am from homebody and concerts

I am from quiet and loud

I am from anxiety and change

I am from empathy and expression

I am from family and far away

I am from longing and laughter

I am from stoic and goofy

I am from jeans and worry

I am from running and sloth

I am from robe and stoles

I am from bread and the cup

I am from God

Rev. Sarah Renfro, Body Image Workshop Leader, Speaker & Writer






The poems are coming in…! How wonderful..!

Where I am from poem

By: winter griffith


I am from the age of icarly when all kids talked about was new episodes

I am from the tall trees you would always seeing inch worms hiding on

I am from jumping on the trampoline to swinging on the tier swing


I am from my mother no matter how many mistakes she has made

I am from my sister the person who has always been there

I am from my father tho hasn’t always been around

I am from my friends new and old

I am from the people that have bin in my life whether that are still here or just passing thru they made me who i am




A Place of My Own

I’m from
fields of tobacco,
laid out in yellow–green rows of four
under the sweltering summer sun,
collecting pine cones and picking blueberries
two hours from the beach.
I’m from slapping cards around the kitchen table
for side my side games of solitaire
and endless rounds of rummy,
paddling out to stump city
in a wood canoe,
shucking corn on the Fourth of July
before the fireworks rain,
going to Grandma’s on Labor Day.
I’m from
visits to the library,
leaving with the books stacked higher than my head,
early summer mornings
racing barefoot to the swings,
grass clippings clinging to my feet.
I’m from the land of
moon pies, Bill’s Barbecue,
corn pudding, homemade ice cream,
eating shrimp and oysters by the peck,
spooning sugared cereal
out of recycled margarine tubs
before watching Saturday morning cartoons,
pretending Superman was my brother.
I’m from
the perch nestled in the top of the pine tree
overseeing The Place,
and you wanted your place, too.
Now I have a different place
of my own
to call home.
Kay Jernigan McGriff
Freelance Writer


School has started! Here is one from a 7th grader…

Where I Am From        By: Ona Eyisi


I am from baby blankets

smelling like strawberries

and big white teddy bears

cuddling me with their soft arms.


I am from old antique paintings

hung up on the wall

proudly overlooking all who

dare to steal its pride and glory

to smaller baby versions of  my siblings and I floating around in frames.


I am from little vehicles manually and electrically started up.

From a small playground to a big playground, from trees to empty space, and green grass.

From bouncing and swimming and chasing and laughing, and good times.


I am from friendly neighbors, and large dogs.

From stray cats quenching their thirst at my pool.

From riding bikes with friends and walking to the bus stop with them.

I am from a welcoming place often called a meadow.


I am from Ifeoma and Tochuku’s  branch.

From my mother’s side with intelligence and focus,

And my father’s side with strength and hard workers,

From both sides with kindness and respect.

I am from America and Africa.


I am from do’s and don’ts, whether it had to do with me or not.

From saying good morning to saying goodbye, Whether I want to or not.

From dressing appropriately and listening to others.

I am from respect and politeness.



I am from old homes, old neighborhoods,old counties, old cities,

old friends, old schools, and old teachers. From old walks to the nearby Domino’s.

From walks to my friends house,

the friends I fear have moved on and don’t remember my name.



This. From a wonderful poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. Her work has spoken to all of us for so many years. Honored to have her voice included among us. Honored to have you all!

Naomi Shihab Nye






the thin line of dust gathering above the window


Palestinian father’s frustration stirred with his


minty never-ending hope


someday there will be more justice in this world

someday we will all be chosen for care and respect

He considered the Statue of Liberty his personal girlfriend


never liked closed borders, barbed wire, lines


I am from echoes


lonesome German relatives who never married


(save grandfather Carl who took the leap)


but wrote letters to one another listing


every single Christmas present they received


from the mountainous Swiss village so icy I thought


I could die here to perfectly complete my family’s circle of migrations

from the glorious Muslim grandmother who for 106 years could not read


but read the skies and the seasons and dreamed of peace


to the son who read before he was three


the grandson who falls asleep in a mountain of books


comforted by ABC


I am from the language


the stories we told ourselves to keep going


tomorrow we won’t be depressed anymore


the fundamentalists


the fearing


the culture that is not our own but becomes our own


simply from living so long in the lilt of bienvenidos

gracias       por que?

till someone actually says

You’re half Latina right?


from the ways we eat and our tongues get bigger


tongues now Thai


from eggplant parmeson at the Purple Garlic restaurant


that we passed for decades without entering


and now can’t get enough of


the person who stands inside the door


welcoming everyone till we feel Italian too


I am from you


and you


eyes passing in airports


people we would never choose to be


(the bombasts




that so-called president      who is he?     really?)


I am from the less not more


shining quarter found in a childhood gutter


at the intersection of South Harvey and Marguerite


Ferguson Missouri


never-quite-fitting-in acknowledged as a gift


standing-outside-the-circle      favored place


I am from daily tending and a blank page


old inside young           young ever present


yes and no intermingling forever


wisdoms posted on walls


Rabindranath Tagore       one of my first favorite writers


It is very simple to be happy but very difficult to be simple

I am from simple


quiet Sunday morning


twining vines




mostly from that


ineffable surprise


that people from utterly different places even meet in this world


and recklessly decide to stay together


even for a minute     or 56 years


I am from your life and mine


the surprise of every turning




Here is a new one…all of these reach us in so many ways…

I Am From

Rev. Adam Thomas


I am from LEGO bricks,

From Star Wars and Adidas cleats.

I am from encouragement,

From Nor’easters

And the conquesting kudzu.


I am from Christmas Eve French toast

And the roots in the glass jar atop the fridge,

From Edna Marie

And William Carl

And Melinda Emily.

I am from depression

And overflowing bookshelves,

From “It’s not on the list”

And “I love you even when I’m sad.”


I am from early church services

And that interrupted sermon.

I am from Maine (but I’m the only one)

And from too many addresses.

I am from Dad’s lasagna

And pancakes mixed too thoroughly.


From soccer and baseball and frozen bus stops.

I am from fantasy worlds.

From learning to listen and having stories to share.



The Rev. Adam Thomas



We are getting in more and more poems…how amazing..this is building!


Where I’m From

by Tabatha Yeatts


I’m from roads like a rollercoaster

leading to a valley town,

from clogs and fiddles,

porch swings and crawdaddies,

a little grits with my butter,

and fresh donuts around the corner

from the bookstore.


I’m from barefoot and bees,

and playing outside until someone’s hurt —

probably me —

from the smell of cows in the distance,

and from leaving the football game

as soon as I can

but staying until the

basketball game is over.


I’m from riding the lawnmower

with my granddaddy,

playing cards with granny,

from homemade popsicles

for myself and the neighbors,

from art supplies and the

bliss of blank paper,

a joy that fills me still.



Harry Landsman is visiting from New York..here is a new poem


I Am From

Harry Landsman


I am from an actor who still hasn’t grown his beard at fifty

I am from a dancer who makes animal noises when she dances

I am from Norwegians, of all the crazy Barbarians

I am from Russians who came to the US and now eat hamburgers

I am from France, finally some non crazy part in the family

I am Euro-pean, and not in the bathroom!


I am from The Earth School—ba ba-ba-BOOM!

I am from the creator of this poem thingy.







The joy of these poems is the lines…how they move and what form they take..all different from one another, all part of this poem family…poem community

From Carol Wills…

Where I’m From
I come from a Southern Railway conductor and

a woman who couldn’t for the life of her wring a chicken’s neck.
I come from a farmer crippled with arthritis and

a farmer’s wife who lost her mind.

I come from a civil service employee of the department of the Navy

and from a secretary who used to work at Charlie’s Pie Shop.

I come from a home where beans and cornbread were our usual dinner.
I come from a home where we had slices of Spam interleaved
with pineapple slices and called it good.
I come from heading to Southern California as soon as I graduated high school.
I come from the baptismal pool at Central Baptist and from
every Billy Graham crusade I could get to, seeking relief from my sins.

I come from poor and I’m still not rich.
I come from humble and I still don’t care for folks who brag.
I come from leaving it all behind and saying good-bye
and I’m sure not ashamed of where I’m from. It’s where
I’m going that occupies my mind. So put that in your pipe

and smoke it.








A new lovely one from Linda Texter Hall



I am from a teenage Italian immigrant

escaping the draft into the King’s army

one of the huddled masses

in steerage with his sister

to Ellis Island


I am from a Pennsylvania German

widowed at thirty, making cigars

in a Quakertown factory

her roots going back

to a colonel in the Revolution


I am from Catholics


I am from Mennonites


I am from people

who were not welcome

in WASP neighborhoods

but came anyway

and broke the barriers

and made friends

of those who called them names


I am from people

who were barbers, teachers, musicians

proud Americans

who fell in love and taught me

to love others

no matter what


their religion

the color of their skin

where they came from


because we are all

God’s children.


– Linda Texter Hall




Here is one from Lesley Buckner who writes along with her students!

I AM From –


Lesley Buckner

I am from a cast-iron skillet
From Crisco and Valleydale Bacon
I am from the laughter of family
Snorting, rambunctious, a symphony of belly-laughs
I am from Yellow Lady Slippers
dancing on the forest floor
I’m from shooting down Mistletoe and perseverance
I’m from Grace and Margaret
I’m from the anticipation of bad news and the worry of my mother
I’m from “Little girls are to be seen, not heard” and “Do as I say, not as I do.”
I’m from the hills of Appalachia,
Wilted lettuce with hot grease drippings, soup beans and cornbread
From the bathroom heckling of Uncle David and Rommel
I’m from the weathered wrinkles of my Grandmother’s hands
The cedar chest, baby teeth, and a lifetime of Hallmark Greeting Cards
I’m from these moments, forever etched into my soul






A new, powerful poem by Sara Stack


I am from…

Sara Stack


I am from the womb of a woman

I do not know.

I am from a “father” who may not know of my existence

Maybe he wonders

Maybe he does not deserve me

I am from European decent

With a trace of middle eastern blood in my veins

I am from loving parents who always did

“The best they could”

And I turned out OK

Actually, I turned out great

I am from the city, the suburbs, and the country of the Midwest

Where I learned of life

And death too many times

I am from the country

Where I learned to be strong

To sweat

And to appreciate a cold beer after a day of filling a

Sweltering barn with 70 pound bales of hay

I am from the soil and barns

Where I learned to work and the power of a paycheck

I am from a society of double standards

Where I learned that “no” along with a physical fight

Can be heard as “yes” with no one to tell

I am from academia

A world of smoke and mirrors

Which I did not always excel at

I am from “America”

Governed by pocket lining corporations run by white privileged males

Who haven’t a clue what kids need but make laws

In the name of their country and the name of their god

Regardless of the ramifications

I am from corporations banking on the greed of power and money

Paying politicians to make rules about things like safety in schools

That they haven’t a clue about

I am from prolific optimism

Where I make a difference

A difference for people who look like me

And even more importantly… those who don’t

I am from the legacy I leave behind

I am…






See Art Work section for new I Am From Mural!

Here is the statement about the mural:

Attached is a few photos of a mosaic mural that was created by high school students in Skillman NJ. The school had a racial slur etched into the exterior wall some years ago. I am a teaching artist who was hired to work with the student population to create art work to permanently cover the word. I was introduced to the” I Am From “ project through a class I was taking at Columbia Teachers Collage. As part of that class I received a template to create my own “Where I Am From poem. This template was perfect for the students to use to create a group poem from all voices in the class. The relief tile imagery is inspired from that group poem. Where once was ugliness, now is beauty.

Thank you for your work and for inspiring this beautiful mosaic.
Gail Scuderi
Teaching artist
NJ State Council on the Arts
Young Audiences of NJ



Another new one…they just keep coming. Lovely, open work, these poems.

second beauty just now!

I Am From

Dr. Judy Branscom Jenks DNP, FNP-BC


One wise man in a white hat,

I am from Discipline.

A secret agent man

wearing briefcases like bracelets.

A calculator, born in woods so tilted

they shed their rock like sweat.


I am from a thinking woman.

A hellfire and brimstone daughter,

her words muted by callused hands.

Her progeny,

I’m from that spirited visionary

on paternalistic sod

hollering, I can!

I will!


I’m from scratched vinyl records, bell bottoms,

chalk erasures and bomb drills.

Whippoorwills, crawdads,

copperheads, and raw knees.

Bobwhite, bobwhite, bobwhite,

cattle racks, pressure canners, wood heat.

June Bugs on strings

and wars fought on monochrome TVs.


Mine is the blood of Vikings,

Sword Makers, and Cherokee.

It runs thick with hills, hollers, yes ma’am

and thank you sir.

My blood flows from hilltop to creeks

and lands on a dirt road

where black walnut trees

drop their fruit on tin sheets.


A female born in July of 1962,

I’m from nowhere according to “them”

in a time when crickets gossiped

of white flowers birthing blackberries.

And grouse drummed

as if the hills themselves hummed

then… but not now.



I’m from Trust.

A Promise.

A Push.

A Chance.

A nettle in the Sun, I Am.


Here is a powerful one from Marjorie Fedyszyn
I am from broken
Parents divided by walls and doors
Invisible to each other
Speaking through the child interpreter
Lost in sadness
I am from anger
Shouts across the table
About things they weren’t really about
Then the silence of simmering resentment.
I am from the outdoors
Scrubby invasive trees shaken
In pop up woods
Signaling our whereabouts to each other
Never betraying when parents called.
I am from fields of warm summer grasses
That concealed us simply by lying down
Scaring grasshoppers from their rest
Where coal cars rumbled by
Vibrating in our chests.
I am from a Great Lake
With tides pulled by phases of the moon
Where collected treasures on the shore
Formed fortresses of protection from the wind
And forces beyond my control.
I am from snow
So deep we could tunnel like mice or moles
From yard to yard
Bags in boots, it was easier to wet yourself
Under layers of clothes than go in to pee.
Under my bed was a box
Filled with the art of a child
Trying to make sense of her world
My shelves held mason jars filled
With precious glass, shells and rocks
Fragments kept to this day.
I am from broken
But I am whole.
Marjorie Fedyszyn






Summer is Here! Send in some poems! Here is a new, sweet poem…


I’m from the kitchen table, from bread and butter.

From the old suburbs,

small, cracking homes being swallowed by the dirt they stand on.

I’m from sun-ripe tomatoes, daffodils, ocean waves

and the endless sculpting sands.

I’m from mealtime arguments and whiskey breath,

from Ella-Once-Charlene and Deanie-Good-Boy.

I’m from the witchy women and the Mormons too.

From a temple built by cursing the horses,

and an orphaned great grandmother taken in by strangers.

I’m from two kids leaving their religion behind,

choosing the mystery and each other.

I’m from California and from those who went ever westward.

From smoked turkey and home-brewed beer.

From my 10 year old grandfather secretly

listening to opera in the farmhouse,

And the loneliness of my newly-wed grandmother

tending acres with a quiet man.

The stories are kept on our tongues, mine too now,

the pictures are digitized, the shell collection passed on,

even as the people and homes keep vanishing.


Jessie Huffaker










So much fun when a whole class joins in…


From An Schueger’s 4-6th graders at Brightwater Montessori School In north Minneapolis, Minnesota

by Ezrah


I am from …

My chefs spoon

My Acting skills

My runners blood

The trails in Theodore Wirth park

My mother and  father’s wisdom and intelligence

The pan African flag

A great civilization and  community

The hard work and struggle of my elders and ancestors.

My ancestors blood sweat and tears they gave while on the plantations everyday picking cotton

The buses burned  and the one’s that changed the world

The feet that walked from birmingham to washingtondc

The great leaders who made me me

My Ancestors did there work to create the future of my family.

What they think i am

And  my proud family



I am from waves

From Temples


I’m from long dress &

Wind fresh air.

I am from the rose

And  mountains

I am from aunts &

Cousins and Rojas.

I am from the connection

With my sister

& battle wor.

From following my dreams &

Be strong.

I am from music & sound.

I’am from MN & mexico,

Tomales & Mole

From the music &

Dreams of my

Aunt’s & Janni rivora

& plan’s of my 15 teens.

I am from the

Love of my family.




I am from…


Countless Hours of my Moms hard work.


My grandmas beliefs in being kind to others.


Music that i’ve listened to ever since 3 years old.


Biking around my neighborhood in the summer.


The Community of Bright Water School.


The Civilization Of America.


The streets of Minnesota.


My Jamaican And Creole Ancestors Hard Work, Power, and might.


My Interest in Video Games.


The Pollen Of Spring.


The Dead Leaves of Fall.


The Cold Snow of Winter.


The Turkey of Thanksgiving.


The Gifts Of Christmas.


The Smell of BBQ in the summer.





  • by Raishawn





I am from

I am from my ancestors.

I am told that I from a land i have never been to, how can that be?

I am told that I am from the place where my ancestors lived, but there wrong, I am not from a piece of land but from the people who lived there.

I am from my ancestor’s hard work and struggle.

I am from my ancestor’s fearlessness.

I am from my ancestors.


I am from my friends.

I am from my friends that are more like brothers and sisters.

I am from talking trash with my friends before we start race.

I am from staying up to 3:00 in the morning watching Lord of the Rings.

I am from exchanging emails on the last day of school.

I am from my friends.


I am from my family.

I am from standing in the kitchen deciding what to do for dinner.

I am from from planning are next national park trip.

I am from hiking on a trail praying that we are going the right way.

I am from sitting around the table enjoying matzah ball soup and irish soda bread.

I am from my family.


I am from my community.

I am from the lessons that I learned.

I am from sitting in a circle on Monday morning.

I am from sitting at a table writing a spanish murder mystery.

I am from making faces out of school lunch.

I am from arguing about making history.

I am from my community.


I am from my ancestors.

I am from my friends.

I am from my family.

I am from my community.

I am from love.


  • by Caroline




I am from


I am from Minnesota

I am from the fresh grounds

I am from the bank’s parking lot

I am from the rose’s color

I am from the violet’s stem

I am from the Smith’s

I am from the Shabazz’s


I am from my dad

I am from my mom

I am from my auntie

I am from my dad’s tallness

I am from my mom’s tallness


I am from music

I am from sport’s

I am from not smoking

I am from making money

I am from the deep woods


I am from me Elijah.






The concrete details make this poem sing…What a variety, an immense world, “Where I Am From” encompasses! Thank you Cheryl C. Ballard…


For cryin’out loud, quit acting ugly, hold your horses,

                                                                      Mind your manners, well ain’t that just hunky dory?

                                                                       Mercy me, don’t pitch a fit, goodness gracious,

Bless your heart just sit a spell” …  listen to my story.


Cornfields, gravel lanes and barbed-wire fencing

Holstein cows, Collie dogs, and squealing pigs

Wading in the creek was my Summer fun

Country ham and red-eye gravy. Yum!


Tobacco beds with green plants covered in gauze

A dairy barn smelling of cows, fresh milk and lime

A ‘56 Chevy Bel-Air was our family car

Summer nights spent gazing at stars


Eating red tomatoes fresh from the garden

Our dinner was at noon and supper at six

Church was anytime they opened the doors

Saving S & H stamps from the grocery store


Living in a house without air conditioning

Vacation Bible School mandatory every June

Home-made ice cream churned as a treat

Mud and manure stuck to my bare feet


A corncrib complete with field mice and snakes

Square bales of hay dotting all the farms nearby

Tobacco stick horses with twine for bridles

Riding a Shetland pony without any saddle


Fishing in ponds with a tin can of worms

A candy bar was always shared with my brother

Removing the ticks we saw on our dogs

Riding with Daddy to get “slop” for the hogs


Going out in the snow to ride sleds down the hill

Listening to music on my transistor radio

Getting new shoes only if the old ones were tight

Reading in bed with a big flashlight


Trudging through snow for the perfect cedar

Cutting it back because it was always too tall

Balancing our Christmas tree in a bucket of coal

Decorating it with garland that was very old


Riding the tobacco setter and dropping plants

Carrying a jug of water to Daddy in the field

Playing basketball in the hayloft with my brother

Never being very “lady like” according to my Mother
March flowers and hollyhocks grew in the yard

Life was simple on a farm in the country

Walking on bluegrass that really wasn’t blue

This is where I am from:  please tell me about you!




Cheryl C. Ballard



The poem can take you any where…into the world, into the realities of the place we live.

Racism and Xenophobia

Project “I am from ….”


My blood is from Denmark.

My skin too-rosy white, my eyes true-blue.

No one sees me scary here in the US of A;

I fit in so well … but not so proud.

Skin-deep differences trump soul and spirit.

Fear lurks. Terror grows.

Brown Sisters cover and hide,

Black Brothers run and die.

Guns fire senseless and strong.

Blood flows, oh so wrong.




Veronica Nielsen Jabrocki




A new one by Carrie Black. How this phrase reaches the poet in us, the storyteller, the survivor!

I am from, darkness and not speaking

never say what is true

never ask

hold still until the beating stops


I am from, long walks and noticing

tiny beetles, bracket fungus

looking up the new plant

finding out


I am from, the dirt, the sun, the rain

the plants that grow when tended

sweet peas still wet with dew

the plants that spring up independent

dandelions leaving yellow streaks on my arm


I am from, the future

the changing

the striving

the difference between the hell that was

and the light of now


Carrie Black (Salt Lake City UT)




From Leigh Williams 2nd grade students at Goldsmith Elementary in Louisville, Kentucky

A Class Poem!


I AM FROM I am from my mom’s belly and playing X Box One. Chol

I am from laying fort night with my cousin and family. Eric

I am from baking cake with my mom, going to the movie theater with my dad, and playing with my sister. Fana

I am from the pool on Spring Break in Owensboro. Ava

I am from being loved by my family and eating my mom’s dinner and going to the aquarium and mom baking two cakes shaped like unicorns. Kaylie

I am from getting my nails and hair done. Nykiya

I am from eating mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house. Isabel I am from cutting my left foot in a glass vase open and broke, and sitting in the hospital for seven months, and missing my mom for a long time. Natalia.

I am from Disneyland and X Box One and Player Unknown Battleground. Dipen

I am from finishing iRead at Goldsmith Elementary. Damir

I am from playing X Box One , eating breadsticks, getting dirty, visiting my cousin and going to the park. Alex

I am from looking at the stars in the sky, seeing things fly up in the sky. Awa

I am from a big fight with my sister and she got grounded, but we are still best sisters forever. Neha

I am from the car shop because I like cars a lot. Sometimes I help my mom drive the car. Katherine

Ia m from sleeping at my cousin Gifted’s house, playing with them in their backyard and eating breakfast. Ruth

I am from playing Dipe.io on Thursdays when I am eating pizza and sometimes get cut. Aryan

I am from feeding my sister while my other sisters are watching TV. Ishara

I am from my mom’s belly. I am from school. I am from art and I am from school books. Amisha

I am from ice cream and I like it. I am from liking to pet the cat. I am from my favorite place, school. Niyahni

I am from playing Wii and X Box and playing Legos and Batman games. Conner I am from cookies to eat, learning at school, phones, play flowers. I am from war. Selena

I am from cheerleading, dancing, and gymnastics with my mom and sisters. Aaliyah




Look at the Video section for a new poem with music and color and words from Daniel Broten…stunning!



Sometimes the clearest phrase touches us deeply. Here is one from Kaitlyn Burns, age 14


I am human and imperfect

I wonder why society has such high standards

I hear mean comments

I see perfect models

I want to be like them

I am human and imperfect


I pretend everything will be ok

I feel it’s never endding

I touch a thought

I worry too much

I cry in self pity

I am human and imperfect


I understand thing’s won’t be perfect

I say it’s ok

I dream where I want to be

I try to stay positive

I hope I make it through

I am human and imperfect


– Kaitlyn B. 14




From Kentucky….fine poem.

Hannah Botts

I am from stacked-rock wall,

from wind through the trees and water through the stream.

I am from the sun-bleached plush chair

(Ever green, soft,

it always felt like happiness.)

I am from the leaky pen,

the too-short pencil

whose writings always seemed

as if they weren’t quite good enough.

I am from sunburns and fried apple pies,

from Marybeth and Mickey.

I’m from the whisperings

of authors long-gone,

from flashlights under blankets and pages turning in the night.

I’m from the fog in the mornings

among the mountains,

and the cicadas’ sounds by early nightfall.

I am from the worn white trailer,

sweet corn and sweeter desserts.

From the litter of cats

under mamaw’s porch,

the teeth my uncle lost to keep his dignity.

Under my bed were

ghosts of memories,

fading pictures

in rusting frames.



Here is a new one just sent in…These continue to amaze…and validate the richness that is our world and our country…


I am from

Christopher Crawford

Bullitt Central High School

Shepherdsville, Ky.


I am from boxes of family photos

And pictures in every room of our house.

I am from legos and Nintendo and Xbox 360.

I am from the brick house on the corner

It tasted like Southern chicken noodle soup.

I am from the ferns hanging on our back porch.


I am from the Kentucky State Fair and cranky school mornings

I am from Stacy, and Bobby, and Aunt Joy

I am from the musical and the compassionate.


I am from the front row of a Baptist church

And ice cream sandwiches with my Papa for lunch and dinner.

I am from Max, the puppy I got for Christmas.


I am from the music that represents that we have had some things to overcome

But we don’t give up when things get difficult.



Here is one of the most recent, lovely poems.

I am from kitchen table,

From Old Spice and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

I am from where the plains meet the bluffs.

(Lush, jagged, separated by muddy water.)

I am from tiger lilies

the maple tree

whose high branches sent spinning seeds

floating to the earth.

I’m from hot dog birthdays and strong women,

from Mutt and Red Blanket.

I’m from the secretive

and the boisterous,

from love you to the moon and back and does she ever stop talking?!

I’m from tic tac toe in the back pew

and clarinet hymns in the hot summer sun.

I’m from hidden French Canadian roots,

homemade chicken noodles and pumpkin bars.

From the mother-daughter car rides through changing leaves,

the laugh-until-you-pee-your-pants games of mini golf.

A fireproof safe in the closet

full of recorded voicemails with her words,

papers with her handwriting,

and her topaz ring, bent from kneading bread.

I am from the memories these hold,

fading as the years pass,

but imprinted on my heart forever.


Jessica Sierk






New Poem from far away…sweet!


I’m from those blue sky eyes

which know the ending

I’m from the soft coloured rocks

near the water

I’m from the too-bright loudness

of a frightened girl

I’m from the wrong place,

made the wrong way,

with the wrong face

and a dangerous body

I’m from the twirl of flamenco

and the heel-strike on the earth

I’m from the thin whine of anguish

and the ocean of swallowed tears


I’m from that place

no one else wants to be

So they leave me there

And pretend they are free


I am those bruised petals

That naked little bird

And the towering black rumble

of the maelstrom

As it lowers ever closer

and kisses my cheek


I am the silenced one

Dripping into the day

The bright language of the stars


May Stenhouse McLeod

Monday 26th February, 2018

(part of Cast Off! Writers’ Workshops, Goods Cafe, Wellington)




A lovely new one today…these keep coming in and they are marvelous!

Where I’m From

Marci Auld Glass


I am from pink shag carpet,
from Coppertone sun tan lotion, and my bologna has a first name.

I am the view from the hill overlooking Loon Lake, lapping up peace from the rhythm of the waves.
I am from deep purple lilacs at the cabin,
ladybugs resting on yellow pillows at the center of daisies.

I am from being late to everything,
and people who always listened to my jokes,
and being the only morning person in a congress of night owls, from George and Esther,
and we prayed for a baby and God gave us you.

I am from let’s stop for lunch,
and let’s stop again an hour later.
From do as I say not as I do,
and beware of strangers.
I am from flannel graph Jesus
and knowing all of the best hiding places for Sardines.

I’m from Manito Boulevard and building houses in autumn leaves,
pot roast and orange rolls.
From falling in love on a bus line in Burbank,
the ten Great Dane puppies born in the refrigerator box in the kitchen, and that time the house was quiet and dim after dad went blind.

I am from the top drawer in the dining room chest, a dig worthy of an archaeologist,
where I sift through
report cards,

photos labeled “me and Edna”, immunization records,
blurry instamatic shots,
and, other than a mirror,

my only chance of seeing my face reflected back to me.


Here is one from Sweden…sweet, arrived this morning.


by Lova Nilsson

I’m from green grass full of love, full of anger, full of trust.

I’m from my happy hugging mother and my goofy, tuff father.

I’m from my big brother and his drawings, I’m from a family that I love.

I’m from the small town of easter to the known town of Gothia.

I’m from my fathers amazing meat sauce to my mothers pancakes full of milk, butter and love, love, love.

I’m from a well filled refrigerator to lunch boxes outside a tent in the woods.

I’m from pop songs in the carto alternative rock in the kitchen.

I’m from “girls can’t play soccer” to “wow she’s so good”.

I’m from the strengthening sound of metal clinking together, from the medals that shines in golden.





This is one of two new ones that have come in this week…Stunning poems, our voices!

Where I’m From
By Shiloh Sophia

I am from cinnamon toast and honey milk,
and from warm beds with more than enough pillows.
I am from enough time for me with enough time for you.
I’m from the land of women.

I am from the heart of my mother’s love and breastfeeding.
I’m from the colored fabric swatches of my mother’s mother
from the incense, icons and candles of my father’s mother
I’m from my father’s unlived stories of true love.

I am from the good witches on the wrong side of the tracks,
from tarot cards, tai chi, spells, lesbians and wild redheads.
I’m from scriptured women who go thump with the Bible
who find their tables filled with friends in need of prayer.

I’m from days of prophecy pie and fear of the Lord
laced with fear of not becoming the fully unfettered me.
I’m from baked beans with Best Foods mayo in ceramic bowls,
and from patchwork dresses and roast chickens.

I am from Elvis records and hot pink curlers in blonde hairs.
I’m from the longing and the howling at the moon.
I’m from red roses in bowls of water blessings
and from quantum physics for breakfast.

I am from two women. A poet and a painter.
Precise. Pottery. Prophesy. Paradox. Wet paint.
I am from the one who thins her own forest with a chainsaw,
and from the one who is in love with language.

I am from dust, from in the beginning was the Word
and the spit of Christ mixed with the soil of seeing.
I am from the particles of a love pure enough
to raise the dead and put peace in the heart of my chaos.

I am from the non-judgement of transvestites
in red dresses and high heels on Sunday morning San Francisco’s gospel.
I am from learning to love the Lord from African Americans
who took me under their wings into the streets of creation.

I am from Native Americans who showed me where I live
smudged me from childhood and would not let me forget.
I am from the United States, occupied territory, red.
My teachers have called me to action, Aho!

I am from my sister Cinnamon, a bad ass on a motorcycle
with a devil-may-or-may-not care blues song blazing.
I am from my brother the Carpenter hammering out
an uncertain future with many daughters to call his own.

I am from my sister in the deserts of Mexico
with her miracle child holding the family secrets.
I am from the Virgin de Guadalupe’s crescent moon
and from making wrong things right.

I am from willing to die for love dreams
and from ten years of prayers and miscarriages.
I am from matriarchs and yet finally choose:
I will not walk the path of the Matriarch.

I am from the Northern parts of California
from more homes than I can count from rolling green hills
and grey blue beaches and seagulls that love pepperoni pizza.

I am from the walk on the wild side with a Prince tattoo
from his 1982 love symbol.
I’m from the constellation called Cosmic Cowgirls
and my imaginary white horse is named Commander.

I am from the need to gather the women,
the mending power of circle and drum and feather.
I am from ancient Russian women grandmother shamans
and Scandinavian grandfathers who made musical instruments.

I am from the kitchen of the Red Madonna
Mother of the all seeing all forgiving
One whose enormous tent stretches from star to star.
I am from Her mothership and from His Gospel.

I am from legends. I am from freedom. I
was born for hot summer days with nowhere to go
with my West Virginia lover in a white convertible.
I am made from adventure, that is my middle name now.

I am forged from the riddle bone of my Muse
who loves leopard print and ghetto saloons
eats chocolate with peanut butter by candlelight,
she writes poetry from a red chair at midnight.

I am from the colors of woman
from a sisterhood
who seek to serve to transform wounds into wonders
through the alchemy of dancing paintbrushes.

I am from mermaids who sing each to each
who tell tall green tales to salty sailors
seducing them with martinis, two olives please.
I am flown from wonder woman and her glass plane.

I am pulled from stardust into matter, I am star woman.
I am pulled to the gravity of earth, I am earth woman.
I am from the need for justice for all and kindness
falling in love with each day like a school girl crush.

I am from the mother tongue of creativity
expressed with intentionality I’m from the impossibility.
I’m from being totally for you without losing me.

I am from the mystics of the red thread café
a place between tomorrow and today, I’ll meet you there.
Where the mysteries of the universe drop colored ribbons
like clues just on the other side of the narrow gate.
Inspired by George Ella Lyon’s poem: Where I’m From
Written on the day after Sue’s 8oth Birthday
On the day Prince died at 57 on the Full Moon on April 21.
The day before we get the keys to our new live work space.
On the eve of Passover.




These keep coming in, each one unique, each one who we are…Thank you writers!

Where I’m From

by Pam Turner


I am from grass stains and mud pies

Velveeta and Frito pie

From four leaf clovers and handmade necklaces

Woven in a chain on the playground


I’m from tadpoles and leaf piles, spankings and write offs,

a Tupperware cookie box filled

with Dutch windmills and Fig Newtons

but never the Oreos we craved


I’m from “bless her heart” and “for crying in a bucket”

which means she just couldn’t help it

from standing in the corner and hitching a ride,

drowned in so much that couldn’t be said.



Here is a beauty….


I am from the land of Himalayas
and the Taj Mahal

I am from where many Gods are worshipped
and names disclose your religion

I am from where I wake up
saying a prayer
looking at my hands

I am from where the entrance of homes
is decorated by drawing patterns
with rice flour

I am from yoga and the art of living
and yet obesity is often mistaken for prosperity

I am from silk sarees, red bindis
and feasting on banana leaves

I am from wearing flowers in my hair
and glass bangles on my wrists

I am from where the earth smells
like heaven every time it rains!

——————Surabhi Kaushik



Terry Focht takes the I Am From poem and expands it here;

I Am From

Terry Focht

I am from Heaven’s melting pot

Birthed from many nations

I am from the destiny of man

too many wars

victories and defeats

liberating life

wounded and deceased

honor and courage

undimmed by human tears


I am from Native American’s

honored warriors

nature’s keepers

revered nations

spirit quest


I am from The Great Migration

seekers of freedom

men of Steel

women of Faith


I am from the giants of history

hearts of the pilgrims

curiosity and grit of

the explorers

courage of early settlers

stamina of the pioneers


I am from Jamestown

Williamsburg and Plymouth

the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria

the determination within mans soul


I am from the sun and the stars

mornings and midnights

“Dawn’s early light

Twilight’s last gleaming”


I am from boundless skies

architecture of the land

purple mountains majesty

emerald green valleys

bounties of the fields

blessings in the air


I am from land of the free

home of the brave

sea to shining sea


I am from sun worn skin

rosy red cheeks

deeply carved laugh lines

scar worn ankles and wrists


I am from the colors of our flag

Manifest Destiny

Emancipation Proclamation

Pledge of Allegiance

In God We Trust

The Lords Prayer


I am          

           “ The tired, the poor,

the huddled masses

yearning to breathe free”



             I am the children

             I am the people

             I am the land

             I am…



A Lovely new poem, just received..

I am From (after George Ella Lyons)

I am from endless oceans and flowing rivers,
glorious sunshine, and golden meadows,
forests with sheltering trees and winding paths over rocky, root-covered earth.

I am a traveler, a seeker of the way, of the destiny that belongs only to me.
I have scars, seen and unseen, reminders of how the hands of time have shaped and transformed me.

I am the glistening newborn that emerges from rough, weathered skin time after time in the process of becoming.

I am my ancestors, brothers and sisters, a tiny strand in the universal thread, yet one that shines as brilliantly as each other one.

I am here and I am now, learning to greet and live in each moment as it arrives. – Diana Damato, Keene, New Hampshire




Here is what happens when you have an I  Am From booth at your teacher’s conference day..a long, poem by many who stopped by the booth!


St. Paul Teachers Conference, Oct. 2017


I am from a Midwest college town that prides itself on education but never knew what to do with students like me.


I am from people who live and love and laugh in spite of those who have tried to silence their voices.


I am from Napa, California but live now in N. Minnesota—seeking connections, kids, gardening, art peace and justice!


I am from the roots of many from the past. Many tribes brought together to make change


I am from a small rural town where community is a big influence in supporting education. How can we strengthen that bond in other school districts?


I am from fierce, Black ancestors, Southside Chicago, gritty streets and resilient change makers


I am from Minneapolis, I am from a lifestyle where you always help those in need get a hand up.


I am from suburban Minnesota. From a family with love and support, encouraging me to make a change.


I am from Packer land, Wisconsin!


I am from the land of Centaurs, #286.


I am from a working- class family and Europe through Ellis Island, who were welcomed. I am from/have White privilege.


I am from a strong woman and I strive to be the same for my daughters.


I am from so much! I am from a thirty minute lunch break. (My twin had the other 30 minutes).


I am a proud Asian adoptee teacher. I strive to be a role model for future Asian teachers.


I am from a family farm in Central Minnesota, transported to the urban area.


I am from familia.

I am from strong, smart women who fight for who athey are and what they stand for. I am from strength.


I am from 19 states, 12 countries and 4 continents, a true mongrel of a man and citizen of the world!




I am from Northeast Minneapolis and my neighborhood is a huge part of who I am!


I belong to a family…that values belonging…that cares for others…that believes education is important for all!


I am from a family who lived Civil Rights in the 60’s and 70’s and I believe those beliefs still apply today!


I am from a small farming centered town. I am from a divorced family with five children. I am from a family that supports whatever you do.


I am from speaking without cursing, feeling the love of the teacher and student without being like them.


I am from the heart of Minnesota, with the dream to travel the world


I am from the heart of Minnesota, with the dream to travel the world. I am from a hard-working, family-oriented and loving background.


I’m beautiful, smart. I’m from a small village in West Africa, from a family of 9 kids, 5 girls and 4 boys and I’m the baby!


I am from generations of teachers on a journey to defend public education.


I am from wanting to learn more, grow more, and trust more. I am from wanting to be an educator and an activist.


I am from St. Paul. I am from never give up. I am from practice makes perfect.


I am from unknown origins. I as adopted ….Until I had my DNA test..Now I know I am middle Eastern, North African Italian, Jewish, Native American. Got nothing but love for all peoples.



Ishinikaade ishkonigan

Wenjibaawad indinawemaaganag.

Mishakwad omaamaayan indaw.




I am from a land that could not provide for me. I am from a family of immigrants.


I am from a family of educators. We are strong believers of life long learning. We believe in the power of education and where it will take you. I

I believe in the power of WE!


I am from Minnesota, south Korea, the Phillipines and Thailand.

I am from the department of corrections.

I am from Adult Basic Education.

I am from the Spanish speaking world.


I am a descendant of indigenous women that struggled before me so I can dream and succeed.  I continue the journey for my children and their children.


I am from the land, the sky the water. Stop trying to poison me!


I am from Africa via Jamaica. I am a world citizen, the human race.

One people! One love!


I am from Hong Kong. My family is from Wisconsin. I hope to make a difference in the classroom.


I am from a single mother!


I am from rural Minnesota, small down, dirt roads and love.


I am from strong people.

I am from an unequal playing field.

I am from a passionate call to help create equal space for all.


I emerge from the North Woods. The cedar boughs are my hair.

I drink the lake and it is the essence of who I am, with all its peace, its fury and is soul emanates from my pores.


I am from freedom: freedom to be beautiful, ugly, finished, unfinished, known, unknown, self.


I am from the neighborhood of tall white pines that dance in the wind.


I am from the heart of my members, with them at the core of what I do!


I am from fields of hoary allysium in the hands of bridal Barbie. I am from Christmases where santa might not come, loud laughing dinners, forty- five minutes away from anything.


I am from whiteness and trying to destroy it. Interested to see what’s left over.


I am from Nebraska and the world of marigolds and endless corn.


I am from an immigrant mother who loves this country. She raised me to always be kin, respectful, non-judgmental. It has served me well in my role as a union leader.


I am from loving brown hands.

I am from a family full of love that I try to give to others.


I am from an immigrant family from Mexico, two working parents with a third grade education, who raised seven children. The believed in the power of education.

I am from rural America, educated in the public schools, first to earn a college degeree and first to earn a masters degree, all because two parents  believed in the American dream.


I am from Windy City. Buy my roots are in the deep South.


I am from a mother who grew up in the time of hate. But she raised me to be blessed and to support others in their will to lives good lives.


I am from literature, music and the strength of my students.


I am from  la tierra de Mexico Guadalajara. I am an immigrant.

I am from the strength of my parents.


I am from a land of love, a man of community of love. We include everyone.


I am fro Medellin Columbia, the city of the eternal spring.

I am from twenty years teaching in Minnesota.

I am from here!


I am from hard work, determination, goal setting.


I am from a little island, Daebu, from parents who believed in working hard, following (and being prepared to follow) one’s dreams, from public education and from being prepared for the worst and believing in the best.


I am from MPLS. My mother, myself and my children all  went to MPLS schools. I would like to see them return to the great schools they once were.


I am from the red dirt of Ghana, Hawaii, Alabama.


I am from the edge of solitude, from where the road meets the dream.


I am from a place of passion, commitment, healing, everlasting progress and determination!!!!


I am from

unknown origins, thru forced immigration

Check the box so I can put you in a box

Love, empathy and compassion

Won’t you join me?


I am from a farming community in Freeland Michigan.

I am a farmer become teacher.


I am from the farm, where we know what community is.

I am from where dreams really can be reality.


I am from a family of refugees, from not fitting in to feeling welcome.

I am from people who are often misunderstood and silenced.

I am from broken hearts to healing. I am an educator.


I am from Texas.

I am from rigid rules.

I am from a loving family.


I am from the small German town of New Ulm, Mn.

I have known the small town and big city life. I love both!


I am a strong Latina and persistence is my motto.

I want English learners to feel empowered by education, empathy and powerful role models and building relationships.


I am from seven older siblings—some grown and others split between three homes. I

am from mixed identity, evictions, red Kool-aid  and spaghetti for days.

I am from pink oil, fish frying and kick-the-can.


I am from Africa, Swali. Question: does this spark curiosity about me?

Tibu, answer, it does make me curious about you, from a different background.

To unite now and for our future generations is what we need.



I am from  West Africa Liberia where our education system needs a lot of improvement, especially early education


I am from suburban Sacramento but my family is from a variety of places without a true hometown.


I am from Minnesota and it needs a lot of help.


I am from Elvia and Mary.

I am from fried chicken and Sunday family dinners.

I am from hard work, education and determination.

I am from family.


I am from a land far away. I have become a strong woman and mother to be an educator, so I am a mother-teacher who does love kids.


I am from a minority people who has a dream of togetherness, solitude and one from all and all for one..


I am from trust, truth and safe spaces.


I grew up in San Diego CA but I ‘m from not just where I’ve lived but from all the communities that have raised and continue to help me grow, all over the place.

I am from Laos, Minnesota, California, to DC!


I am from  a place that calls me”Nena” but I have grown up since then and a force to be reckon with…


I Am From

Terry Focht

I am from the spirit of far away places

From the ancestral DNA

of the heavens, the earth and the Father

The idea of man’s being

From the kindness of nature

that allows my existence


I am from the wind, the sea, the mountaintops

The fire that formed man’s spirit


I come from the heritage of man

Grandparents of Switzerland and Ireland

Holland and Germany

From the blood


Morals and mores of these people

The character of these countries


I am forged by their struggles

Strengthened by their broken bodies

Work-worn hands

Hard earned crevices in their faces


I am from the union of many souls

From the romance of their cultures

The obligation and privilege of man to exist


I am from tempered will


Battles of man

Father’s that steered the way


I am from the strengths

The love, the values

of the many mothers

that kept the way


I am from                                                                

The Art                                                                                                            

The Music                                                               

The Poetry in the wind                                       



Now, a three part I Am From experience ! This form is ever-expanding…

I Am From


Childhood Memories

                                                           D’Vorah Clark Kelley

I am from pennies planted under a willow tree in the front yard.

I am from tears streaming down my face the day my beloved dog died.

I am from climbing on the big bales of hay in the barn on a winter day.

I am from the tops of maple trees, hiding where no one can see.

I am from sumac and lilacs and forsythia bushes in the back yard.

I am from horses, dogs, cats, rabbits and sheep in the field.

I am from mellow summer days spent free-ranging with friends in woods and fields.

I am from stonewalls and fence posts and closed in spaces.

I am from the wild, unfettered times, before the move that broke my heart.

I am from Connie and Ed, from Marion and Lester, from Audran and Edward.

I am from Scotland and England and France and the hills of North Carolina.

I am from where the trail of tears began, and where it ended in Oklahoma.

I am from bone and sinew and blood and tears.

I am from fear and anger, love and joy, from sorrow and excitement.

I am from hither and yon.

I am from cloud formations on a summer’s day.

I am from invisible forces streaming through my body.

I am from islands and lakes and puddles in the driveway.

I am from honeysuckle and dandelions and sweet smelling grass.

I am wholly the me that has been created by all of these things,

and more, so much more.



I Am From

The Four Directions


I am from the East, from the wind under the wings of an eagle,

soaring and plunging to earth and soaring high again,

majestic and all-seeing.


I am from the South, from a fiery volcano, spewed out as hot,

molten lavato then solidify and become

a path for a shepherd boy herding his sheep.


I am from the West, from the deepest recesses of the ocean,

formed when the earth was newly bon from stardust,

churning, bubbling, hidden away for all time.


I am from the North, from sand on the beaches of the world,
tumbled by the sea after traveling through space and time –

once a mighty mountain, now a tiny grain among other tiny grains.


But, before all of these, I came from the center of the Universe,

spiraling outward, onward, believing I could understand the language of the stars

if only I listened hard enough.





I Am From

The Never Ending Story


I am from the seacoast,

where waves crash and

sandpipers scurry across

the wet sand.


I am from the depths of despair

and the pinnacles of hope.


I am from treetops and grass roots,

lake beds, and river stones;

all of nature is my playground.


I am from everywhere and nowhere,

all at the same time,

comprehensible and incomprehensible.


I am from twilight as lightning bugs

flash messages to each other

at the edge of the forest.


I am from continuous sunrises

over the ocean, promising a new day,

full of wonder.


I am from rainbows, sundogs, rings around the sun,

clouds that disappear in the wind,

the playground of the children

of  the sky goddess.


I am from volcanoes, cyclones,

ice storms, and tsunamis,

a force to be reckoned with.


I am from a never-ending story

of courage, passion and majesty.


I am from a city full of noise and ugliness,

and from the verdant hills of quiet beauty

that speak to me of hope.


I am from tadpoles in a springtime pond,

wondering where their tails have gone

and what their new lives will be like.


I am from the multi-faceted jewel

hanging in the void, waiting

to be discovered and honored.


I am from eagles, starlings, Cardinals,

Baltimore Orioles, and seagulls,

winging my way to a new tomorrow.


I am from deepening friendships

that make my heart

come alive with love and gratitude.


I am from all my yesterdays,

and all my tomorrows,

but for right now,


I am from this moment.



Here is a tough, honest poem by Constanza Gamardo…


Constanza Gamardo

Where I’m from: Venezuela

I’m from the Angel Falls, the Amazonian Rainforest, the Caribbean Sea, the desert,

the snow.

I’m from the salty smell of the early sunrise and the walks through wet sand.

I’m from the black gold.


I’m from the drug dealer sitting across the priest.

I’m from that gun to my head. The violence. The anarchy. The fear. The tears.

Where you can break the law but the law won’t break you.

From a land of both beauty and disgrace,

where your faith is on hands of the one that holds the knife, anyone but you.

From short skirts and big egos.

I’m from those angels that look out for me above the sky.


I’m from loud music that starts when the sun sets, until it rises again.

From the laugh that echoes on the equator.

From the eternal summer.

I’m from those happy moments. Friends and family.


From a country where money, corruption and the government are glorified,

but integrity, compassion and honesty often forgotten.

From parents that let me go to soon, for my own good.

From a broken family that sticks together.


I’m from love and gratefulness, from perseverance and resilience.






From Vernica Jabrocki

So clear and lovely…


I am from Eternity

I am from father

I am from mother birth

I am from life

I am from death

I am from Mother Earth

I am from Father

I am from Eternity




Veronica Jabrocki





Here is one from Louise Bierig

She has taken her concern for water and made an I Am From poem about it! What a fine way to join this movement…Think of an issue you care about and try to do what Louise did…and sent it along…


I AM From

I am from polluted water, now clean,

thanks zebra mussels.*

I am from vineyards smelling like

scratch and sniff grape stickers

I am from loneliness

from wind.

I am from a field with a gold-

eyelashed toad.

I am from Power Rangers and tractors that run

best on non-ethanol gasoline.

I am from an old road where a

stage coach used to cross the creek.

I am from sailboats.

I am from the Brick House with

its secret trunk in the

second floor bedroom, which

Jeff tells me was on the

underground railroad, though

my father doesn’t believe him.

The bedroom where Uncle John,

eight years old, shot a groundhog

from the window.

I am from beaches filled with

coarse, metallic sand—yes, it’s

full of iron ore, the filaments of which

will stick to a magnet—covered

in logs—old tree trunks that fell

over the banks and the waves carried downwind—

and flat chunks of shale.

No, don’t use them to build

a fire ring; they will crack in the heat

and hit you in the teeth.


*In 1972, The Clean Water Act and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, signed by the United States and Canada, contributed to lowering the amount of pollutants entering the Great Lakes. The banning of DDT led to the renewal of higher level fish to the lake, as well as the return of hawks. However, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals in personal care products and plastics put the lake at risk and harmful algae blooms (a threat to Lake Erie for the last two decades) are on the rise.





Sharon Isaac <sharon.banjopicker@gmail.com>

A lovely poem…thank you Sharon…


by Sharon Rose Isaac

I am from The Project, The Mountain Parkway & The Rose of Sharon

I am from dirt, a swinging bridge, up Greasy Creek, a stand of white oak trees, & the Knockin’ Tree

From the mud between my toes as I hoe the corn & a vegetable garden with flowers

From a porch where secrets slip out and beans are strung

I am from a tobacco bed, tobacco crop, tobacco worms, & the tobacco check

A cast iron skillet, cornbread & fried potatoes

A canner full of glass jars, pickles, corn, green beans, a big table, biscuits & gravy, Kool-Aid & bologna sandwiches

I am from a banjo behind Mammie’s old couch, from Holy Rollers & speaking in tongues

I am from a messy marriage, long nights of quarreling & guns.

From unrealized dreams & unreached potentials, beer, whiskey & moonshine

Healers, herbalist & breathing into sick babies mouths.

I am from a story you tell over & over & over again

I am from a mountain graveyard with homemade crape papers flowers & a quilt made from feed sacks & old Army coats

I am from a carpenter, a factory worker, a storekeeper, a teacher, a farmer, a gambler & a dreamer

I am from a smokehouse on 14-mile creek with salt pork & tulip trees

I am from the forks of the road where we bury bits of potato we rub on our warts.

I am from family – for better or worse.



From Cincinnati!

We Are From WordPlay

Where are you from?
you ask.
I am from tears and mess and compromise.
I am from Cincinnati, the land of granite,
from sunken eyelids and bony hips.
I am from those places caught
between past and present lies,
from the split moment terrors
I get when I think of how my rapist is free.
I am from the powerful words
my mother made sure were in my lungs
since she knew that with the color of my skin,
people wouldn’t listen when I had to speak.
I am from a place where an orange runs a country—
no tea, no shade, but isn’t that funny.
I am from a crowd surf
of different hands and ideas.
In this beautiful fictional far off place,
every day is a gift to live and grow,
borders dissolved and no one owns the land.
I am from sticky rice and vinegar,
from teaching fish to dance,
from individuality and the correlation
between different and unique.
I am from the crack in the picture frame
that lets you reach inside to touch it.

WordPlay Cincy Scribes: Anais, Cat, Daphne, Keshawn, Lilly, and Sol

and Pauletta Hansel






Another one..just in…what these poems do, each day we receive one, is to remind us of the remarkable, brave, work of those who live in the US, day by day.


I am from..

Moya Haggerty.


I am from Cill Cartha, the ancestral hub

I am  from a higglelty-pigglelty street with twenty two first cousins.

I am from the gouged valley fringed with blue grey mountains

I am from Multiple sclerosis land where stiffened limbs collapse unintentionally

I am from a dying language where landscape holds names like Spinc na Bhfuileog

I am from purple heather land from black crumbled turf mould

I am from skeletons deep buried in bog butter

I am from the plonk of wet sods of turf on a newly cut bog

I am from a weighty creel on a man’s back

I am from a town land of rushes sloughing from tainted iron water

I am from far off places, Wagga Wagga, Mutiti and Ein Karim

I am from the Grand Canyon trodden by my grandfather crossing the Rio Grande

I am from chapatti land fringed with frangipani flowers

I am from bottle brush tree shot through with jacaranda flowers

I am from pocked marked Ogham stones

I am from the land of the slanting sun with a long pig tail

I am from the slime of the earth, from the twinkle of an eye, a spark of the cosmos

I am from the feel of silk sold in the bazaars of Tombouctou

I am from a line of storytellers who know how to entangle the knotted roots of the furze bush and pass on the musical litany of I am from





Here is a new one…a lovely one..an honest one….from Charlotte, North Carolina


I Am From


Veronica Corral

Charlotte, NC

I am from, neither from here or there

A hybrid, a marvelous fusion

that feels at home in a kaleidoscope

of culture


I cannot deny the birthplace of my parents

Though some deny me entrance

And I cannot spit in the face

Of the land that my parents labored in

From it I see the birth of my son

And a road of opportunity paved from

The sweat of my ancestors

Bearing fruit from their sacrifice and loss of the familiar


My colors, the red, white and blue

And the red, white and green

As well as the many unknown flags flowing in my veins

Each fused together in my blood


I sit at the table filled with a

Crayola of colors

Many of whom may feel alien at my presence

Yet I make my home among them, for me and my future


I am from neither here or there

But I feel at home

Amongst the many who call

themselves homeless


A third culture, that embraces

The rough edges of those

That find themselves as pioneers

In this new land





Two new powerful poems!

Where I’m From

by Rebecca Whitecotton


I am from starlight and angel dust,

Celestial feathers floating on the the breath of All That Is

I am from the dark of space,

from the center of the first light.


I am from the molten core of earth,

Hot, glowing, flowing to the surface,

Oozing forth and flowing to the ocean

Where it is quenched and hardened into solid form.


I am from acorns and sunflower seeds,

from hearty vines spreading life through leafy tendrils

I am from birch and maple, sycamore and oak,

Rooted in power and swaying with the wind.

I am from rocks and rain, stone and sand.


I am from the gazelle and the tortoise.

from the jackal and the bluebird,

the crow and the eagle.

I am from the mother bear who nurtures her cubs,

and the vulture who feeds on the dead.


I am from the compassion of saints

and the mistakes of sinners.

I am from the love of a mother

And the anger that drives worlds to war.

I am from joy and sadness,

pleasure and pain,

life and death.


I am from All That Is

and all that ever will be.




Bridget Bufford

I am from skate punk, fuck off, touch my stuff and you die. I am from crystal meth, spoons and needles, paying to get high.

I am from the belt across the back, the fist in my teeth, the polished black hard soled shoe that kicks me downstairs. I am from waking in vomit, blood and snot.

I am from clay, impervious to pain. I am from stone, never cry no more. I am from dead ash that falls off the end of a reefer and I rub it into my pants leg. I am from the burning cigarette pressed into my skin. I am from the hidden razor, the secret switchblade knife.

I am from a long stretch of asphalt, too stoned to see the end. I am on my bike escaping to nowhere. I am on the side of the road, hitchhiking. I am in the car of a greasy speed freak, going too fast. Ninety mph in under seven seconds, he says. I’ll let you ride if you will hold my turtle. –Whatever, let’s go, and then the horny shell surprise

I am from Mad Dog and Thunderbird, puking down my shirt. I am from pot speed and acid, too high to die. I am from the hospital, raving, blood on my hands on my clothes is it mine? I am from four point restraint don’t tie me up god please no I can’t stand it. I’m from twenty mg. intramuscular Valium jammed in my arm, turning daylight soft and black.

I am from walking, walking the sidewalks of St. Louis, the barrios of Phoenix. Walking the highways of Houston, walking seawalls of the Gulf Coast, walking forests of the Midwest, infested. I am from chiggers and ticks and fleas.

I am from the fires of the Southwest, lightning strikes below the Rim. Late night fire fight red glow smoke choke burns your lungs and your feet blister in your boots. Know your crew in the ash-filled dark by a lock of hair, the looseness of a step. Know your weather, know the wind or die. Two Hotshots burned in the backfire, caught in the draw our own flares created. Burned those boys alive, seventeen and twenty-one, and there was too much smoke and ash to see. The locomotive wind drowns out the screams.

I am from the women: Janie, the dark-haired poet. Dreadlocked Maria, molasses-colored body artist, who threads purple beads in her hair. Elisa, the golden dancer gone to Boulder. Connie, the seeker, and Carole, the listener, and Pat when I write, and Becky who loves me even though I’m sometimes pretty bad.

I am from pen and ink, recreating my life.


By Bridget Bufford, 2004





Bewster Academy–2nd set of amazing I Am From Poems


I Am From

Jackson Barber

I am from Lemuria, from the legends of Mount Shasta and planet idon’tknow.

I am from the motherboard.

I am from the golden egg. The hot pot.

I am from good food and love. Hospitality from the west and south. Three California kids.

I am from the bees knees and the island in your dreams.

From the wild acts and childish time

I am from the town of believers.

I’m from a place of wisdom, kale and mango.

From the music and fun, the journey continues, and hopefully the universe delivers.

I am from the supreme land.



Where I am From by Mason Barchard


I am from belts, from Gi’s and finger tape.

I am from the soft canvas.

I am from where people flow like water and stand strong like rock.

I am from Jiu Jitsu and broad shoulders, from a bloodline of raw talent.

I am from the gentle art.

From hard work and perseverance.

I am from dreams and nightmares.

I’m from the mats, where the only food is food for thought and intelligence.

I am from the only place where a chess match can be expressed through movement.

From the place where we walk in the shoes of those we admire,

in those of legends and loved ones.


I am from

By Sumayya Al Kindy


I am from a country you’ve probably only heard from the citizens of the country, from the country right next to Saudi Arabia and right below Dubai.


I am from the smell of burning coal and frankincense. It blurs my vision as I set the red clay pot with melting frankincense down under the ceiling fan.


I am the daughter of an Omani who was born in Zanzibar, the African language fills my ears every time I visit my grandpa’s house and the family gathers.


I am from a country that ridiculed me as a child for looking like another race, for not speaking Arabic, for speaking English. The same country that, as I got older, saw its future in my hands.


I am from the family whose neighbors once heard us yelling and running away from someone I did not recognize at the time.


From a “candy”, it’s only good wrapped, to an unforgiving feminist who’s still looking on ways to educate her people.


I am from Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him. Although I lack in my religion, he is the ultimate role model for all things.


From the spilled blood of my brother s and sisters in Syria and Palestine. From the tears of the orphans crying for their baba and mama.


I’m from the English TV shows I watched like Days of Our Lives, and the smell of Biryani being cooked by my mother.


From the tears of my mother being hurt by a person she loved, and from the tears I shed for her.


I am from stubbornness of my mother and will be silent until i tip over with rage.


I am from all this.


I am me.







Last three from the marvelous Brewster Academy!



By Noah Spiegel


I am from Attack Cat Security, from Annie’s Shells and lacrosse sticks.

I am from the Mens Den, where the smell of fresh cuban cigars echo across the walls

I am from the Sullen apple tree out front, that has safeguarded 26 Round Hill since I was a young child.  and the woods that sleep during day and come alive when the sun sets.

I am from Cape Hatteras and Catamount Lane, from Herman who taught me how to be a Spiegel to Marian who taught me that kindness travels the farthest and Gordon who’s name I adopted as my own.

I am from the missing left socks and empty bottles to late card games and watching the stars pierce the night sky.

From “The Golden Rule” and Melting Brains.

I am from freshly baked homemade challah and 12 hour services, from Adam, Eve, Jacob, Leah, Abraham, Isaac and splitting the seas.

I’m from Eastern Germany, Poland, Armonk, NY and Roxbury, Mass. Each place more different than the other, but the building blocks of who we are.

From August 24th 2013 the day our family changed forever, but not always for worse. To the day’s weeks months and years following that proved not only resilience, but strength and compassion.

I am from Sally’s paintings, from the mantle above the fireplace where those who built our family name sit and watch over us still.

I am from so many people place and things. All of which I am forever grateful for making me, me.



By Peter Leach


I am from snowy winters , from Timberland Boots and Winter Jackets.

I am from the multi level home, filled with eggo waffles in the morning, and the daily funnies.

I am from the house that protects lady slippers, with the weedless gardens.

I am from searching for eggs on easter morning, and loyalty to all , from my brother Evan and my cat Chancellor, and my dear old parents.

I am from the house that never gives in, and the halls of compassion .

From shame on you, to i’m proud of you son.

I am from a past of church. To a present of sleeping in .

I’m from the woods of Derry but the hills of Europe , from Chicken Packets to Whoopie Pies.

From the time I ran away from home to the time I wished I wasn’t alone, the time I caught a monster fish, to when I blew out my candles and made a wish.

I am from Vacations such as visiting Iceland, to sleeping in front of a fire on a rainy day.

My town has shaped me into what I wanted to be. My home lay nestled in the woods between the trees.


By Bailey Kolinski

I am from


I am from grass fields, from Billy Ray’s and Diet Coke

I am from the big red house with a white porch and the crunching of dirty brown grass under bare feet (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the pine trees standing 50 feet high. and yellow daisies surrounding granite post

I am from bracket picks and sun blonde hair, from Mom and Dad and Uncle Chuck (that no one ever talks about) and Griffin the strongest of us all.

I am from the weekend spent at sporting events and weekend off spent not knowing what to do.

From ‘please’ and ‘thank you’s’ and if you don’t like what I’m cooking that’s too bad.

I am from Sunday School, three different Popes, and hard wooden pews smelling of fresh lacquer (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I’m from Steven’s Point to Pączki and casserole’s

From the Reagan giving stiches to every one of her siblings both on the face, the time Papa past out in the kitchen when only the adults were awake (another detail, and the never ending movement of my Nana through all hours of the day.

I am from Ryder field where two of the three Kolinski children fell in love with a game. Where I learned all of life’s greatest lessons and where I hope one day my children will learn the same.




Here are the first three poems sent in by Jen Dumont, who writes:

I am writing to submit several poems to the project that my students wrote last spring. My students are from all over the world – Japan, Oman, Taiwan and all over America. Our school is Brewster Academy, a private, college prepatory school in Wolfeboro, NH.

Will be sending the next three soon!

New 3 poems from Brewster Academy!


I Am From

Jackson Barber

I am from Lemuria, from the legends of Mount Shasta and planet idon’tknow.

I am from the motherboard.

I am from the golden egg. The hot pot.

I am from good food and love. Hospitality from the west and south. Three California kids.

I am from the bees knees and the island in your dreams.

From the wild acts and childish time

I am from the town of believers.

I’m from a place of wisdom, kale and mango.

From the music and fun, the journey continues, and hopefully the universe delivers.

I am from the supreme land.


Where I am From

by Mason Barchard

I am from belts, from Gi’s and finger tape.

I am from the soft canvas.

I am from where people flow like water and stand strong like rock.

I am from Jiu Jitsu and broad shoulders, from a bloodline of raw talent.

I am from the gentle art.

From hard work and perseverance.

I am from dreams and nightmares.

I’m from the mats, where the only food is food for thought and intelligence.

I am from the only place where a chess match can be expressed through movement.

From the place where we walk in the shoes of those we admire,

in those of legends and loved ones.


I am from

By Sumayya Al Kindy

I am from a country you’ve probably only heard from the citizens of the country, from the country right next to Saudi Arabia and right below Dubai.

I am from the smell of burning coal and frankincense. It blurs my vision as I set the red clay pot with melting frankincense down under the ceiling fan.

I am the daughter of an Omani who was born in Zanzibar, the African language fills my ears every time I visit my grandpa’s house and the family gathers.

I am from a country that ridiculed me as a child for looking like another race, for not speaking Arabic, for speaking English. The same country that, as I got older, saw its future in my hands.

I am from the family whose neighbors once heard us yelling and running away from someone I did not recognize at the time.

From a “candy”, it’s only good wrapped, to an unforgiving feminist who’s still looking on ways to educate her people.

I am from Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him. Although I lack in my religion, he is the ultimate role model for all things.

From the spilled blood of my brother s and sisters in Syria and Palestine. From the tears of the orphans crying for their baba and mama.

I’m from the English TV shows I watched like Days of Our Lives, and the smell of Biryani being cooked by my mother.

From the tears of my mother being hurt by a person she loved, and from the tears I shed for her.

I am from stubbornness of my mother and will be silent until i tip over with rage.

I am from all this.

I am me.





I Am From Joy C

By Joy Cartwright


I am from earth, from skin and bone.

I am from the sky.

I am from the trees, the daisies

I am from the camp and Irish blood, from Brenda, Kim and Taylor and Cartwright .

I am from opinionated contestations and addiction .

From strictly organic and Waldorf raised.

I am from Maine. From rocky shore line, and bitter wind.

I’m from Germany, beer and potato .

From the party, the 40 years, and the factory.

I am from Greenville, the lake and storms.


Bryan Chen

Where I am From

I am from the sky-touching building of 101, from the heart soothing pineapple cake and sun cake.

I am from the 30-level building with the sounds of television constantly blossom your ears.

I am from the Plum Blossom, the Bombax Ceiba itching your nose.

I am from the Chen and the Chen, from the country where most people’s last names are Chen.

I am from the family that lost its ancestry and from the fleeting Party originated in Mainland China.

From getting money from elders in Chinese New Year, but my mother would always spend them.

I am from a family that believes in the ghost stories we see on Tv.

I’m from Kaohsiung, where beef noodles and meaty rice

From the father who knew a lot of people in Taiwan, the mother who single-handed started her own business that is still running today, and the granny that can’t remember her story.

I am from love and hate family where disagreements are normal but still stick together no matter what.



Hidehiko Yamashita

“I am From”

I am from the middle size of the city; from famous sweet fish and keen knives.

I am from town surrounded by greatly traditional and historical castles and distinctively structured house.

I am from the Mt. Fuji, which is the biggest mountain in Japan, covered with snow throughout the year, from big and streaming river called Nagara river.

I am from getting together most of the time to have dinner for most of the days, from having conversation with the others, from Nobuhiko and Riyo and Yamashita.

I am from loving to watch movie together in the weekend and going out to play golf together on holidays.

From being the adult to think about other people, having the wide views and never giving up to get the result, not losing myself.

I am from Gifu, which is generally recognized as the countryside in Japan but is a great city enough in my opinion.

I’m from Gifu and Hida Beef which is one of the most famous beef in japan and Takayama Ramen which is very famous ramen in my hometown.

From dad coming back from the work at 3 o’clock and drinking as soon as coming back from the work, the mom cooking for two hours to make the different dish for my dad, my brother and me, and the brother loving to watch his favorite movie.

I am from Gifu Castle which Nobunaga Oda who is the most famous leader five hundred years ago lived.








New composite beauty from Cincinnati!

We Are From: Art for Artists, 2017

I am from a blank canvas,
from the typewriter set up
in my mother’s kitchen,
from bright colored fabric and shiny beads,
from the country attic where
obsolete treasures lived,
from the vegetable garden in the summer,
from a hand gliding over big boards,
flour dust flying in the air.
I am from that girl,
the one who called herself
writer, artist, gardener, cook,
from the space she held to grow into.

It is like a trail through my memories,
which shoots straight and sharply
through my town, my life, my thoughts.
I am from struggling children
and a nation divided,
from tall scary people all in black,
in white.
So long ago, it seems familiar.
The streets are filled with too many ghosts.
What a strange journey through time.

I am from a life reinvented,
floating in and out of fog and clarity
and plunging in again,
from a long hard slog to make my way
through scrambled streets with cul-de-sacs,
from a towering blue spruce
that mocks my journey.
I am from many steps,
the ones I tumbled down
grabbing life, reclaiming fears,
pursuing and abandoning perfection.

I am from the nest of peace
I have made of my home,
from the joy of dirt and rocks,
the delight of sun and moon,
from quiet Friends and deep meditation,
from the “see you later, welcome home”
barking of the dogs,
from the sweet shade of the same old trees.

All in all, a pretty good life.
I am here.
Now in my 50s,
my 60s,
my 70s,


By Art4Artists Participants: Sue Brungs, Pat Bruns, Mo Conlan, Carole Douglas, Arnelle Dow, Mary Hennigan, Vivian Kline, Sally Murray, Pat Ostenkamp and Carolyn Stewart with Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel.
Dunham Recreation Center
August 15, 2017




The latest as we move into fall….!


Where I’m From                                                            Elizabeth McCommon, August 2017


I am from hog killing, meat chopping

       sausage, spareribs and brains

       with eggs in the morning.


I am from horses that work for

       corn in the crib, pigs in the pen

       chicks in the coop, Creasy greens

       and beans in a row.


I am from running fast and falling hard

       picking myself up with scabbed  knees and elbows as proof,

       from sling shots, sharp pocket knives

       Mumbly Peg, ball games

       and boys, boys, boys and me

       trying to keep up.


I am from tobacco in the field, in the barn with neighbors

       in the lungs of  Miss King and Queen County

       in the festival for queen crowning

       with Camel cigarettes high stepping it

       down Broad Street.


I am from stage struck

       from love struck

       from all the babies I can count on one hand

       and the death of all that .


I am from damp, tidewater air, glorious sunrises

       bounty of air and water,

       old British influence in place names,

       architecture and the persistent remnants of slavery.


I am from sexy people, their reckless behavior

       unexpected  unions, suicidal cousins,

       dyed-in-the wool Democrats and

       Southern, foot washing, Baptists.


Where I am From

Edna Lewis

I am from the ditches, streams and winding gravel roads of a back hollow.

I am from the mountain tops, above sassafras trees.

I am from where the little whip-poor-wills sing, hidden close by in a lilac bush.

I am from underneath the blue skies, bright stars, and an occasional blue moon.

I am from sugar, but not the sweet kind.

I am from grandmother’s tasty chicken and dumplings, and grand pappy’s baked potatoes under the grate of the old fire place.

I am from long winter snowy nights, sipping cocoa, with the wind howling by.

I am from granny’s cherry tree, with Pa’s stories of old, a time of war, and the Penn-line men.

I am from the hills of coal, the blue grass, the wet lands, the deep lake waters, the flowing rivers, where the horses run fast, with aging barrels of bourbon, tobacco sticks, blue grass music and strong willed Appalachian people.

I am from Kentucky y’all!


 Beautiful poem by Ruth McArthur

I Am From

I am from pine trees, oaks

with Spanish moss strangling

the branches, azaleas forming

hedgerows, canopy roads in

constant shade, moist hot air blanketing

us as we played charades or tag fleeing ”it”

as if he were the devil himself.


Learning to tithe

with nickels my father gave me, learning

the catechism

Who made you? God.

What else did God make?

God made all things.


Gathering around the supper table

each night taking a turn

reading from Barclay’s commentary

which at age seven

I was expected to do,

eliciting giggles

from my teenage sisters

at mispronounced words.


My brother didn’t like tomatoes

so without tasting I didn’t either.

The big girls combing my hair, evaluating

the cleanliness of my fingernails

commenting as if I weren’t there.


I am from books. Books stacked everywhere,

shelved, stacked, strewn on the floor.

Picked up Mama’s prewar copy

of Tess of the D’Urbervilles

and never felt such horror and heartbreak

as when weeping over the harrowing, unfair

fate of Tess

and was ill for a week.



A group  I Am From poem by seniors from St. Paul, Minnesota, Lyngblomsen program

Dogs in the Barn, Cows in the Pasture

I am from birthdays in April when my mother loved the flowers that came up just as my day arrived! Daffodils and crocuses

I grew up in New York: We were always at the beach!

I am from the country

I came from a big family where everyone described things SPECIFICALLY, BORINGLY AND REPETITIVELY

I am from the city, and the Dairy Queen on Payne Avenue, one of the first in our area. I saved my pennies to go there each weekend.

I am from a dairy farm where we milked cows and sometimes went to town. We finally moved to town and there we got spoiled. It was easier.

I spent summers in South Dakota, on a ranch; everyone there got up early to work.

I am from wild deer

I am from gangly children playing kick the can til after dark

I am from Capture the Flag, Ally, Ally In Free! I played kickball, marbles, Four Square andRed Rover Come Over

I am from farm dogs and cats in the barn, cows in the pasture, pigs wallowing in the mud, chickens in the yard, a rooster that climbed up into a tree.

I am from sweet corn, potatoes, home made bread every day (my mom started it in the morning) canning, picking cucumbers, cream of wheat for breakfast

I came from a German family—we always had sour kraut, pork roast and knedles(dumplings)

I was born on the fourth of July and I was ten years old before I knew that all that hoopla wasn’t about me!

I never thought of myself as I. It was always We, Because, you see, I had a twin. You can’t understand i if you haven’t lived it..being a twin.

I am from a big family and when they asked me my birth order, I always said, “next!”

I am from a big family, and every Sunday we all got together. There were forty people and my mother cooked for them all.

I am from Lutefisk and lefse—Fun food!


This project is leading to all kinds of poetry, music,theater, dance, around the country…spoken word, urban word, …rap, ..hip hop…it is all in where we are from….here is a powerful one to consider.

I Am From Poem

David Tojin aka Astrow

Let it bleed”
The boondocks iron city full of rum and drugs
South Central slums no fun is where I’m spawning from
The 90’s unwind me to the time these Devils tried to blind me
my opponent is myself and only i can define me
I experienced the streets
and this raw game asking for change cause raw spells war
my lineage
Down living poor
poverty corruption exposed wild flooding my core
Batteram out to get me straight shattered my door
chemical war
psychological warfare
artificial glare
seeming unfair as i stared i rebelled
kicking it
on the porch with my kin folk
avoiding the gangs owning the page with my number two pencil
Addicted to paint
Not the shank
I love it
a wise mind
compared to fucking nothing but nature
cause shes beautiful
i feel so free
able to see
Mother Earth to me
a real necessity
I live blasting over hot grills
licensed to kill
Uncle Sam’s field employed ill
killing at will
all for some bills
that go to oppressors with suppressors
shadowed out in black suits playing checkers
Ain’t down with Benji
plat bronze a punk a Jimmy
slugging out the youth toxin like a Hemi
cause truth is buried
And the lies are shown
like a flee on a spree hijacking your dome
Industry ho
Living life like a slaves soul
Ghetto pigeon
Free yet glocked and locked up in a prison
Re educated by Satin
Blue eyed beast
Lynching out free colored kins
a creatures feast
A physiological tactic
will mold you into clay in a world full of plastic
with pesticide
Dope Gangs Sex all the magic
To replicate a Tom to kill crops like a Locust
The war is focused
advertised manipulated
Like French Spain fucked a Haitian
Embrace it
And buzz out this cell this living hell
Experience more knowledge than life’s horror struggle tales
Real committed and focused
like mad hates the roaches
Rats to hornet’s
kicked in like some horse shit if i
Had the chance for one wish
It be Docs DeLorean to blast me to 1966
When Black Panthers where bucking down Oakland pigs
To organizing free breakfast clubs for hungry little kids
Teaching self defense heritage
Under covers
About evil whites and why we lighter shaded brothers
Then off to 1493
To burn the Pinta the Niña the Santa
for 1619
No slaves free Natives
New hieroglyphic written pages
Hands on slave ships
for all the racist hatred
So let it bleed let it bleed
Spread your pain
Throw them up if you hate the game
Fight for change
Heal the pain
Every struggle is a lesson
Create a change a difference
From this hell that were facing


Here is another beauty from a high school student

Zhaunte Destiny Wallace

I am from the smell of incense and candles ; sandalwood

I am from a small but clean home

I am from a laughing, beautiful, toothless baby boy named Zaire’

I am from a Goddess who holds phenomenal strength for herself and her children.

I am from Birds chirping in the early sunrise

Accompanied  by the loud bang from

the early garbage truck on Tuesdays

I am from the honesty of my grandmother who taught

me that I am a powerful person and staying true to myself

Is the Best love i can give to me

I am from the beauty she carries for herself  like a delicate

Star shining in the dark peaceful night.

I am from the divine scent of her when she hugs and loves me

In her arms , reminding me of when  i was a seed developing

Into a flower and she would just smile at me just because

I am from Sunday dinners filled with crazy antics, loudness, and family

I am from moments filled with love, cries, pain, surprises, hatred, and laughter

I am from strength ,beauty, and love.

I am from being Zhaunte Destiny Wallace



Wonderful, rambling poem…great to use this theme with students those first weeks of school!


Where I’m From  (for Harlan’s G.E.)

by Kate Larken

{who is from at least 7 generations in Carlisle County, Kentucky}

I’m from Yellow Dog Democrats and free thinkers.

From progressives who’d never have called themselves that,

for they were only applying common sense and integrity by way of their worldview.

I’m from publishers and teachers, farmers and politicians, singers and scribes,

and, honey, I’ve been ’em all.

I’m from the song, the story, the visual, the poem, the stage and

from some of my time’s great movements (though, alas, I still can’t dance).


I’m from both coasts and a whole lot of the middle.

From Carlisle County, Carolina, California, the Keys and the biggest rivers in North America.

I’m from a farm … and from a giant city, too.

I’m from cold fried chicken, pulled pork, pad Thai and the Shalimar Indian buffet.

I’m from fresh corn, fried green tomatoes, pickled okra, sushi, and edamame.

I’m from single barrel bourbon, cold beer, mojitos and moonshine.

I’m from native intelligence and obsessive scholarship.

I’m from that crossroads of ‘where you fixin’ to go?’ and ‘leave me the hell alone.’

I’m from livin’ just the way I intend to and lovin’ just the way I was made to.

I’m from fairness.  I’m from justice.  I’m from equality.  I’m from the future.  Get used to me.


I’m from people who’ve done me right, and I’m here in spite of those who’ve done me wrong.

Oh … and from honesty-will-go-a-long-long-way.

And I’ve chosen to be from a place where men don’t feel threatened by smart women and

where smart women aren’t afraid of any-damn-body.

From a place where dear friends enrich and entertain me:

like the woman who composed the song that says George Bush Is An Idiot,

the man who paints cityscapes and landscapes and green tea pots,

the friend who nursed me back to health near the beach,

the generous girls from the weekly music jam,

the big-hearted workaholic who can never make time,

the friends who keep up with me even when I’m lost and can’t find myself,

and, yes, the woman who wrote the book on Where I’m From.

I’m from all of them. And they, in small ways, are from me, too.


I’m also from dichotomies:

collaboration and independence,

practicality and dreams,

business and art.

I’m from education, too, and from

communication … with and without words.


I’m from

‘hand that over here and I’ll try it,’

‘hand that over here and I’ll strum it,’

‘hand that over here and I’ll edit it,’

‘hand that over here and I’ll rock it to sleep.’


I’m from knowing that joyful singin’ is pure praise, but hateful preachin’ is pure fear.

I’m proud that—by way of experience and because of all the people I’m from—I’ve evolved:

a liberal and a feminist and

a web weaver and an artist and

LGBT and a thinker and

a pretty good feller.


Look here: I’ll sing you the blues one minute and tell you a joke the next. That’s because

I’m from too much tragedy, but I’m sold on the idea that it’s comedy that gets us through.


Most important, friend:  I’m from The Golden Rule. Even when I see it no longer in evidence.

Hell, I’m from the same planet you’re from.

And I’m from knowing

that neither you nor I

have more right

than each other

to be here.

I’m hoping you’re from knowing that truth, too.


See, it’s like this:

I’m from printer’s ink and afternoon naps on stacks of newsprint waiting for

Gran to feed each blank sheet by hand from his perch high atop the big flatbed press.

I’m from the Lava and Borax in the blackened sink at the back of the News office,

from sneaking behind the complicated Linotype

(even when the grownups ordered me not to, warned me of danger)

to peel delicate and fragile silver stars from the oily-black concrete floor,

stars birthed when hot lead had dripped from the mechanism, splashed,

cooled, hardened into wonders, as if heaven had dropped them there!—

and it did, heaven being the machine that made all the words.

Way down in my veins, I’m from collecting ideas and from spreading all that good around.


I’m from farm mornings, too, with that dew-covered spider web built overnight

in one square of the American Wire fence beside the gravel lane.

From learning to bush hog, age twelve, and running the little Ford redbelly

right through the barn lot’s wooden gate, splintering it all to hell on day one,

because I didn’t yet know what high gear was capable of

at the end of a low-gear field mow way down in the bottoms.

I’m from taking a whipping over redwood stain spilled during

the hated chore of painting the board fence around our horse lot.

From riding bareback from the age of three.

From listening to my mother and her in-laws as they put up corn

and Papa’s favorite vegetable (the speckled variety he called ‘horticulture beans’)

for winter on summer days that seem never, thank goodness, to have ended.

I’m from an innate knowledge of nature that can only come from

growing up slap in the middle of it.


I’m from Daddy teaching me those first seven chords on six strings,

from bullying my way right through the blisters and the pain

and the peeling, working my way to calluses the envy of any picker.

And I’m from learning harmony vocals standing beside Mother in the pew.

Yes, I’m from throwing in my lot with song.


I come from dipping spiny gum tree balls in green creek slime to sling at my sister and

cousins and the kids from the neighboring farm in our “war” game

… and from knowing the sting of getting popped back.

From setting up little plastic Army men and plinking them one by one into same nameless creek,

BBs leaving little round pocks in their green bellies or helmets, holes that never healed,

and from shooting off the ends of most of Mother’s clothespins because they were

irresistible targets that tiny ammo made spin madly round the line when struck just right.

But I’m also from evolving into a grown-up who learned that real war is nothing at all

like children’s games … and so I am from making everlasting peace be my real-life choice.


Yes, I’m from the satisfaction of learning to take good aim, be a sound shot,

but only at what really matters. The trick is timing and patience.


I’m from something to do with Time and Distance and Place and Perseverance.

Hanging on to things and then passing them forward is where I’m stubbornly from.

For I am multiple identities; I am many years; I’m my current collection of molecules and

the result of molecular collections that preceded mine. So, I’m from aberrations, too.


An honorary hillbilly who grew older in the flats but ‘grew up’ in the mountains,

I’m from the pleasure of learning firsthand that the best of each world has always existed in both,

whether your soup beans are pinto or white, whether your cornbread is baked or fried.

I’m from the country and from a few immature decades yearning to get away from it.

And I’m from thinking thankfully at sixty that I somehow never left after all—
for my roots remain rural, even after the satisfaction of all those city years.

A secret blessing waited for me to recognize its sweetness when I was ready and

good enough to deserve it:

See, where I’m from is where I am, even when I’m not.


And if there’s one sane thing I’ve noticed where I am now, it’s this:

Sometimes what’s closest is what’s furthest away.