“I Am From”–An Interview & Poem

I recently had a chance (in the middle of the cacophony of home renovations) to chat with fellow writer Alyson Shelton who invited me to join her Instagram Live series sharing an “I Am From”  poem. “I Am From” poems originated with writer George Ella Lyon**, a poet and teacher in her home state of Kentucky.

The text of my poem is below

But for more fun, to watch or listen to me read the poem aloud (plus an opportunity to chuckle at the humanity of getting connected online in the middle of a construction project) CLICK HERE. It’s twenty minutes of highly entertaining content, in my humble opinion. Our conversation covered everything from fathers who leave, finding my faith, to growing up in Southern California, including my connection to comedian Steve Martin. I also took on the role of Poet Evangelist and made a few reading recommendations.


I Am From

I am from doughboy pools and homemade Barbie houses

from Huffy bikes and Helms Bakery donuts.

I am from three sisters to a room and broad green bermuda lawns.

I am from bright sandy beaches and weeping willows

whose drooping green sheltered me from California’s sun.

I am from Coppertone and Sun-In

from Helen and Wes and John.

I am from belting out a tune and scribbling in the dark

from roller skating and tree-fort-building

from fighting at the top of my lungs and finding quiet at any cost.

I am from Bible stories with Mrs. Cluck and anywhere-you-can-take-5-kids-on-a-Sunday.

I am from the Hebjums and Lindseys, a Best at heart with an adopted name,

from porkchops and sauerkraut, applesauce and meatloaf

from a father two generations back that made a grown girl flee

and a mother who lived chasing beauty wherever she could find it, rich or poor.

But mostly poor.

I am from luaus and carnivals, beach trips and berry-picking,

babysitting and in charge at twelve years old and hiding with a book to make it all go away.

I am from those moments of running, singing, writing, hiding, lying in the sun

but never far from the watchful eye of an invisible Father

held in arms more real than scratchy lawns and doughboy pools and donuts and

roller skates.

A Father more present than my own skin, closer than the sunshine on my soft brown hair.

Lover of my soul who was there every meandering minute, keeping time until I came home. 

**If you’d like to write an “I Am From” poem of your own, HERE is a template. I highly recommend it.

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2 thoughts on ““I Am From”–An Interview & Poem

  1. Some things we have in common, including roller skates, books, weeping willows, and fighting at the top of our lungs. Our differences can be explained by the years between us (No Barbie houses at my house!) and the distance between the West Coast and the Midwest (No beach or Helms Baker Donuts where I lived). I loved reading every line of this poem, Jody, learning more snippets of your childhood. Just might check out that template and see if I can poke awake some old memories of my own!

    1. Oh Nancy….. your similarities brought a smile to my face. But no Barbie houses? Alas, there are three girls in our family so that was inevitable.
      I do hope you’ll look for the template to try your hand at your own poem–the prompts make it easy and the exercise is enlightening!

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