Thursday, January 05, 2017

I Am From

A few days ago The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC included an interview with Steve Zeitlin, executive director of City Lore and author of The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness. He talked about a writing exercise he uses in the Cooper's Union writing class he teaches.

Zeitlin's use of the exercise was inspired by George Ella Lyon's poem, Where I'm From. The idea has been used so much that Googling "I am from" yields many lovely poems and nearly as many templates and lesson plans to guide student writers.

I've been writing a poem. I think this is an exercise that could be done every day with different results.

I am from the mountains. And the woods.
Solitude, silence and song.
Secrecy and stubbornness.
Ideas and imagination.
I am from the piano
and the sweet, fragrant  Weigelia in June.
I am from pine pitch
And the dirt road with the wooden bridge over the brook.

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