How to Write a "Where I'm From" Poem

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If you want to write a beautifully therapeutic and personal poem, then the "Where I'm From" poem is perfect. You'll create a piece of writing that represents specific moments in your life that contribute to who you are today. This poem encourages tolerance and awareness of our own personal experiences and can be rewritten over and over again. Imagine being able to express where you're from without simply saying the name of a city, state or country. This poem is about YOU!

Prewriting

  • Use the following categories to list specific details related to you. The key is making this as specific and personal as possible. Use nicknames or words that only you or your family use. Don't worry about readers not knowing what you're talking about.

    a) Parent's names and significant relatives

    b) Special foods or meals

    c) Family specific games or activities

    d) Nostalgic songs

    e) Stories, novels or poetry that you'll never forget

    f) Phrases that were repeated often

    g) The best things that you were told

    h) The worst things that you have been told

    i) Ordinary household items

    j) Family traditions

    k) Family traits

    l) Family tendencies

    m) Religious symbols or experiences

    n) Specific story(ies) about a specific family member that influenced you

    o) Accidents or traumatic experiences

    p) Losses

    q) Joys

    r) Location of memories, pictures, or mementos

  • Select from your lists the items you want to include in your poem. You do not have to include everything that you listed, and you can always add more categories or items to include in your poem.

  • Use the resource link to read the original "Where I'm From" poem by George Ella Lyons. You'll discover there are items, people and situations mentioned in this poem with which you are unfamiliar. That's perfectly okay, because this poem is personal and particular to the poet, not the audience.

Composing

  • Begin with: I am from ___. (Fill in with one of the items you listed while prewriting.)

  • Continue on the next line with: From_____ and ____. (Fill in each blank with items from your list.)

  • Continue with: I am from ____ and ____. (Fill in the blanks as you did before.) Continue this format until you have completed your poem.

  • End the poem with an explanation of where you keep any symbols, items, boxes or pictures that may represent some or most of the topics you included in your poem.

  • Reread your poem and make any changes or edits. This poem can be rewritten over and over again, and you'll probably find yourself thinking about more things that you can add to your poem even when you are finished.

Tips & Warnings

  • Put a copy of this poem in a scrapbook or memory book for future generations to read.
  • Give this poem as a gift to your parents or children. They will treasure it forever.
  • Feel free to change the format of the poem. I've presented only a suggested format for writing this poem.
  • Writing this poem may bring up emotions that you weren't prepared to confront. Consider the writing of this poem as a means of free therapy.
  • If you discover traumatic experiences that you have forgotten, please see a therapist or speak to someone you trust.
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