What kind of poem is "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The wonderful poem, "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon would be considered a narrative poem and biographical in nature.  It is a popular poetry style for teachers and students today.  By capturing where you are from or not from, the finished poem becomes an in depth study of the things that make you who you are.  It becomes a story of your lifetime and the influences of your life.  To write a good "Where I'm From" poem, consider including some of the following ideas:

  • toys and playthings
  • books
  • games, TV shows, movies, songs, pop culture
  • clothes, brands, products 
  • descriptions of houses, rooms
  • things that define you like a particular car or possession
  • values and beliefs that you have
  • school memories
  • sports memories
  • defining moments in your life when you have overcome obstacles and hardships
  • something you witnessed
  • an award, gift, or recognition
  • historical events that define your generation
  • foods
  • love/dating
  • ceremonies
  • Where you're not from
  • family and family history

The key to writing a good "Where I'm From"' poem is to use extended descriptions for each line.  Instead of saying, "I'm from New York City", you extend that description to something like, "I'm from New York City, the Big Apple, where it never closes down and the streets are full of people."  Another piece of advice is to not rhyme this poem.  They are more powerful if you don't.

It's important in any poem to make every word count.  Use adjectives, specific nouns and verbs, and figures of speech such as similes and metaphors to make your writing more creative.  

"Where I'm From" poems are fun to write.  You can find them on websites--just search for "Where I'm From" poems.