Where We Are From

Compiled from Ms. Michele’s, Ms. Jill’s and Mr. Andy’s classes

The “I Am From Project” is a national poetry project started by two poets, activists and educators, Julia Landsman and George Ella Lyon, after Lyon’s poem Where I’m From had been widely used as a teaching tool for writing poetry. These educators are collecting and archiving poems online from around the country, and the world, that they hope to use in the future in some way to reach a national audience.

The goals of the “I Am From” project are “to help people of all ages and backgrounds use the Where I’m From poem as a prompt to write about experiences that shape them, to bring these voices together in community, to get them heard locally, [and] to create a national river of voices, reminding America that diversity is our origin and our strength.”

In the following poem, Village poetry teacher Peggy Stark compiled lines from the three 4/5 classes’ individual “I Am From” works to form one collective, powerful poem.


Where We Are From

Compiled from Ms. Michele’s, Ms. Jill’s and Mr. Andy’s classes
We Are From Many Voices
From Arabic immigrants and Italian chefs
“Ni hao” and “zai jian”
From Grammies and Opas, Nanas, Saftas and Pops
Nene Venga, te quiero, dade un beso
From shusi to hanaci from itadakimasu and arigata gozaimas
From maspik gvar” and sheket gvar” and “shalom aya”
“From Tati, Pop Pop and Snapper
The Czech of Czechoslovakia
From Soy de un primo que trabaja en el Starbucks
We Are From
Aging photographs still smiling
Bullies, brothers, anxiety and lots of drama
Goofing off with Belly Gommy Gome
From being called Bootsey and Margot
From Pippin playing with balls and squeaks from his toys
We Are From Loss
And those we never knew
Grandpa, please take care of my fish in heaven
God, give my cousin a good place in heaven
From “He’s never coming back!”
Your Dad had a seizure
Your Dad wants to see you
Dark cold deaths of pumpkins and peaches
And from words that dig too deep
We Are From
Dirt- biking over hills and riding waves
Red rocks and trash at the beaches
A green gem given away to Amaya
Imagine Dragons
We Are From
Yalla bye
From bed to bobsled
From Lumby who’s lazy and fat and small
From colds and jugs and “Are you ok?”
From splish and splash and drip and drop
A stroke of a highlighter and a dash of paint
We Are From
Japanese origami to Russian crafts
From prayers at the Wailing Wall
Luaus in Hawaii, hiking the Rockies and travel back to roots in Africa
We Are From
Harry Potter, Crimes of Grindelwald, Madagascar 3 and Spider man
Lord of the Rings and Pokemon,
Minecraft and Roblox, Wii box and game club
From Minnie, Mickey, Donald and Goofy
We Are From
“There’s always time to laugh”
“Cvhoba lagi” “enga sekarang”
“Use your words, not your body!” “You’ll do better next time”
From “Be a baker, Be a singer Be what you can!”
“Keep working and let it flow” “Let’s have a Pipona” and “Devochki and Podzhath”
“Point your toes and keep your back straight!”
Long car rides, “Are we there yet?”
We Are From
Soccer balls flying
And slamming into goals
Fist bumps and high fives
Victories and defeats, scars and bruises
From twirls and twists on the high beams
And big moves on shiny floors that reek of tradition
Navigating black and white keys and sleek dives off high boards
Finishing first
Finishing last
We Are From
S’mores with gooey chocolate dripping on chins
Crispy latkes at Chanukah, Nana’s eggnog, pigs in a blanket
And secret recipes known only to Nona
From tacos with lottsa salsa per favor
We Are From
Doors slamming and “Come on- ins”
From broken homes
And trying to fix it all up
Weeping silently
From being tucked into warm dreams
We Are From
Dads who come home after working hard
Faces dirty all the time
Teachers who carved the path of excellence
From people lost and people found
From Veterans of World War II never forgotten
We are from the warmth of
Chanukah candles, Christmas tree lights and Diwali’s glow
We are the fourth and fifth graders
Celebrating as one voice
In one Village
Learn more about Poetry Teacher Peggy Stark and out poetry program.

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