The question that I would like poets to consider for today is Where are you from? Now I am not looking for the name of a city or a state or a region or a country. I am not looking for rural or urban or suburban. I am looking for a description using some details that tell something about who you are without necessarily being specific about your geographical location. Where we come from influences what we write as well as how we write. Our origins are not only geographical and cultural. We originate from the various sources which have influenced and shaped our lives. These could include books, neighborhood, landscapes, travels, jobs, people, food, clothing, everything that has left an impression on how we view the world.
Perhaps some of you saw CC’s poem I Come From Between Worlds here at dVerse a few weeks ago. This is an excellent example of what I am looking for. (In fact, it was CC’s poem which inspired me to develop this prompt! Smiles.) I am going to quote the beginning of it here, but if you want to read the entire poem please click on the link above. There is much, much more; and what a fine poem it is.
I COME BETWEEN WORLDS
I am from warm equatorial air scented with red earth, drifting between Jacaranda branches and white coral sand beaches, from cashews roasted on the side of a dusty pot-hole ridden road, glass bottles of orange Fanta, blue toilet paper, and an audience of monkeys.
I am from “flamingo pink” lakes, dirt roads jostling with overcrowded matatus, a concrete jungle of high-rise apartments, freezing cold air conditioning and the pungent smells of slaughtered goats and Durian.
I am from flame trees, sweet scents of Frangipani, red bougainvilleas spilling off Acacia Court, fresh patriotic orchids, sakura blossoms, and wild remnants of pre-colonial island lushness.
Another dVerse poet who has written a poem of this nature, in a different style, is Gabriella. I think you will enjoy this one as well. Below is the beginning of This is Where I am From, and if you would like to read the entire poem (there’s more…) click on the link.
THIS IS WHERE I’M FROM
I’m from northern latitudes and customs
from brick houses and churches
flemish gabled buildings
from canals blurred in low skies
i’m from rainy walks and bike rides
i’m from strong women
family lore and tales
i’m from homemade dishes
family recipes and traditions
i’m from emails, phone calls
to brothers and cousins
lengthy letters to and fro….
And you might want to take a look at a few more inspiring examples, including that of George Ella Lyon who turned this concept into a book. Her poem is Where I’m From. I very highly recommend you visit her link before you write. There are a couple videos to watch as well which show ‘where I’m from’ poetry in action! One more poem to visit is by Phyllis Sommer who wrote Where I’m From too, which also shows what can be accomplished with the concept.
So, in brief, begin with the words “I am from…” and then go with the flow. Try to use some interesting metaphors and some vivid imagery! Include words and sounds, smells and tastes, and sites. I think it will be fun to learn a bit more about each other in a unique sort of way. Any poems linked that do not follow the format will be de-linked, so please write a NEW poem.
What to do after you have written:
• Post your poem to your blog
• Add a link to your poem via the ‘Mr Linky’ below
• Read and comment on other people’s work to let them know it’s being read
• Share via your favorite social media platforms
• Above all- have fun!