I Am From poem

Here is the latest copy of my I Am From poem. I have written several copies over the years, but sadly, have not saved any of them! Have no fear, this one is saved :) My English 12 students have also crafted an I Am From poem....I will try to post these tomorrow!

I Am From

I am from Jan and Mitch, Dave and Pat, Bunk and Jeanette, Elaine and Don—a family tree that looks more like a knotty forest due to divorce.

I am from eastern Nebraska, where the Platte and the Loup house barefoot children splashing through shallow waters and where sunbathers occupy sandbars.

I am from do as your told and don’t be afraid to rattle their cages—you don’t want them to forget who you are. I’m from a home where we were free to speak our minds but encouraged to be sensitive while doing it.

I am from garden-fresh tomatoes with every summer meal, from radishes dipped in salt, from creamed cucumbers and breaded pork-chops. From meals of corn on-the-cob and watermelon. From brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts and three at a time popsicles.

I’m from lakewater, four-wheelers, and wild sunflowers. From sand in our hair and bathing suits hanging on the cabin’s deck, water slowly dripping onto the weathered wood.

I am from Husker football on Saturdays, mom screaming at the TV and Grandpa Kinzer’s laugh ringing loud above the announcer’s voice.

I am from blue-collar workers who value education and a good red beer. From occasional church-goers to fire and brimstone pulpit preachers.

I am from The Beatles, Alan Jackson, and 38 Special. From Reader’s Digests on the backs of toilets and Nebraska Life on coffee tables.

Though I keep these values, I am now stomping out my own path in a classroom filled with ninth grade students in the Cowboy Capital of Nebraska—my life before me like an open highway, my right hand on the steering wheel and my left out the window grasping for whatever comes my way.


Katrina Gotschall said...

Wow Danielle! Your voice never ceases to amaze me! I just love that I am able to put a face and a person to your words. Your stanza about "Fire and brimstone pulpit preachers" gave me the chills. It brought back feelings of what it is like when I read Jonathan Edwards. I love the last stanza the most though, as I can just see you in that car...

Amy said...

I love it!

tracy krecklow said...

WOW! Danielle, you are truly gifted! I love reading your work!

PS - I am glad my family isn't the only one the Reader's Digest in the bathroom! :o)

Kelly Welsh said...

It's funny how so many people are mentioning food in their blogs--creamed cucumbers, watermelon. Someone else mentioned BLT's, which is the perfect summer food! This made think about how much food connects us to our families and to our sense of place. One of my favorite summer meals is fresh vegetables from the garden with corn on the cob. This was especially good when it is too hot to cook. There are so many foods that we have in common. Instead of a melting pot--we are a pot luck dinner.

Cathie English said...

I couldn't agree more about the mention of food. I do think food does connect us more than we realize! I know we had creamed cucumbers, corn-on-the-cob, and lots and lots of tomatoes in the summer time. I remember freezing corn on the cob in that thick white butcher paper. Mom would boil the corn in large blue canners, use tongs to retrieve them into big bowls, and we'd dump them in the bathtub where there was ice water to blanch them. Then she'd pile them up in a pyramid and wrap the paper around them and put them in the deep freezer. We loved having corn on the cob in the winter! So fun to read about our food references. :)

Lucie Carruthers said...

...my life before me like an open highway, my right hand on the steering wheel and my left out the window grasping for whatever comes my way.

Somehow I think that somewhere in the back of your mind, the music that goes with these lines lays hidden, or maybe, you have already written it down.

The interesting discovery that I've finally put a name to in this class, is that one aspect of our lives, our hopes and beliefs, is found in the concept of place. Your spirit resides in the opening line of this post. Great work.

Evi Wusk said...

Reading your comments about the Nebraska Writing Project has me excited. I have plans to participating next summer. Hopefully, it will fit in among the other classes that I need to take. So many have noted that this was a meaningful course.

I can just picture you dancing in the halls as you received the job offer. Great voice in your writing. Thanks for sharing.

MM said...

(I’ve read through your blog, and so this might mostly be a response to an older post.)

You are able to say (show) so much in such a compact space. It’s terrific. Your photos help shape your blog posts, give me such an exact sense of place, for sure.

And I’m happy to meet another runner. I, too, run to clear my head but also to develop ideas, line break poems, find turns in essays. I do the same for lesson planning. Sometime the drifting out of focus is a blessing (except when one gets lost ... I get lost a lot).

I enjoyed reading your “I am from” poem and your students’ poems!

Daniel Boster said...


I imagine your experiences as a student who "drove teachers nuts" will serve you well in your teaching career. I think your attention and dedication the Ogalalla as a physical space will do so as well. You will be able to meet your students where many of them will be. These abilities make for good teaching.