Where I’m From


We read Willie Perdomo’s “Where I’m From,” and then after a brief discussion of the elements of the poem, I asked the students to write their own poems about their home countries, states, cities–being as specific as possible, talking about the things that create “place” and “home,” “family” and “community.”



Where I’m from is where kids love to hang out.

Where I’m from is where cars is always driving.

Where I’m from is where family comes to meet each other.

Where I’m from is where everybody speaks Creole & English.

Where I’m from everyone’s like to eat leg and rice.

Where I’m from everyone’s love to go fishing & boat riding.

Where I’m from is where people love to have partys.

Where I’m from everyone have dogs & puppys running round.

Where I’m from is where everyone else goes on vacation.


Where I from mother cook egg & ham.

Where I from people work in a tall building.

Where I from people live in the street.

Where I from people beg other people for money & food.


I was born in Miami, I live by the stadium.

My mom & dad they from Haiti.

Haiti people eat good food like rice.

The rice we eat is white & black beans or brown.

We eat oxtail sometimes.


I am from Miami.

Where I’m from we have some beaches.

Where I’m from people look & dress very very nice.

Where I’m from some boys sometimes have their pants

            half way down behine.

Where I’m from we hate when people talk too much

            about where they from.


Where I’m from is the hood.

Where I’m from there’s no quiet, all you hear is Vroom-Vroom.

Where I’m from it snow every Christmas.

Where I’m from we exceed in Holidays.

Where I’m from is pretty rough.

Where I’m from there are no beaches & shells.

Where I’m from is the ghetto.

Where I’m from they have gangs & abandoned houses.


Where I’m from there is a lot of noise.

Where I’m from the birds don’t sing.

Where I’m from they are cars racing.

Where I’m from people talk slang.

Where I’m from it is warm.

Where I’m from there is fights.

Where I’m from we play football & basketball.

Where I’m from there are big houses.

Where I’m from we have a lot of parties.

Where I’m from we got each other’s back.


I am from a place where most people never get along.

I am from a place where it is always hot.

I am from a place where there is a lot of plains in the sky,

            and it has a lot of restaurants

            and a lot of malls.


Where I’m from is Georgia.

Where I’m from we have peace.

Where I’m from we love God.

Where I’m from we have good churches.

Where I’m from we have feelings.

Where I’m from we have cold weather.

Where I’m from we have big homes.

Where I’m from is the peach state.

Where I’m from we do Christ like things.

Where I’m from we have a lot of games.

Where I’m from we eat a lot of grits.


Where I’m from, I’m from Jamaica.

Where I’m from the beach is relax, you hear music

            people dancing, talking, you see baby playing,

            you see sea bike.

Where I’m from we are knowing for the best beach.

Where I’m from I am knowing as Candy.

We are know for cutest people.

People comment us of how we dance, how we look.

Jamaica have the most amazements.

Jamaica have the most tourists.

Every night and day we have parties, such as

            street dances, clubs, and more more fun and parties.

We have the best food.



Where I’m from is Miami!

Where I’m from it’s very hot.

Where I’m from it smell fresh.

Where I’m from there is God.

Where I’m from people wear jewelry.

Where I’m from people work very hard.

Where I’m from the food is very good.

Where I’m from I eat eggs & sassage for breakfast.

Where I’m from it is fun places.

Where I’m from we have cookouts.

Where I’m from a lot of people is very busy.


I am from Miami, Florida.

Where I’m from the sun shines.

Where I’m from the wind blows.

Where I’m from dogs barkimg_10281 through the afternoon.

Where I’m from I eat oatmeal or cereal for breakfast.

Where I’m from I travel.

Where I’m from I see people ride bikes.

Where I’m from there are a lot of trees.

Where I’m from the birds fly everywhere.

Where I’m from it’s great.



I’m from Florida.

Where I’m from, it’s a beautiful place.

Where I’m from I eat grilled cheese for breakfast.

Where I’m from we wear skirts, shirts, dresses.

Where I’m from we go outside.




About deniselanier

I am an educator & advocate, poet & performer, speaker & storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to transform & transport, create & connect. I was the shy, awkward girl who didn’t fit in, was often bullied, happiest with my nose in books, whose best friend was my dog. After being cast in a play in my teens I discovered a way to be comfortable in my own skin, bringing to life the words of a character. Costumed in make-believe I dared to be more of myself than I ever allowed off-stage; I claimed my voice. I spent most of my adult life teaching others to raise their own voices, through acting, creative writing, even slam poetry. When the diagnosis of MS intervened in my 30s I had to let go of acting, which is why most of my storytelling is now expressed through page and less “formal” interactions with stages. I devote much of my time to kids, teaching them to use words & imagination, developing authentic, resilient, remarkable voices. I endeavor to grow in my students the belief, the truth, that we are all artists & the change-makers in our own stories. My best friend still has fur & four legs. My mobility assistance dog is my constant companion, teaching assistant & muse to many. Luke is also chief partner in crime; I’m getting a reputation for stealing things. As inventor of a poetic form called klepto-collaborative, I pickpocket words & phrases from others, reshuffling & reshaping the puzzle-pieces into a colorful, storied mosaic of diverse voices. Taking something from every speaker at a conference in real-time, I craft a collective poem that highlights the messages of the day, repurposing ideas & refashioning stories, weaving them together in a manner that never loses the originality & spirit of the speakers’ themes. So while I may be a word thief, I figure being eco-conscious makes up for it. I’m available to facilitate wordy goodness in your community, school, workplace or play space. I like to think I have way of transforming annual meetings into something interactive, cooperative & memorable. Through my klepto-collaborative poems I aim to delight, to ignite conversation, and maybe even incite innovation. I earned an MFA from Florida International University, where I edited Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. I’m the founder of WordPlay, a poetry-in-the-schools project inspired by Dave Eggers. My poetry has appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Cake, Luna, Best American Poetry blog (a collaborative poem with the phenomenal Denise Duhamel), Wicked Good Life, and various anthologies. My non-fiction has appeared in the Miami Herald and my fiction has been nominated for Best New American Voices. www.deniselanier.wordpress.com & www.wonkybent.wordpress.com

3 responses »

  1. DP, I love your poem about Haiti. It makes me want to go there and visit with my Haitian friends. I can already taste the food and feel the fishing boat in the ocean.

    SL, your poem makes me happy and sad. Your Mom’s eggs and ham, and school, will keep making you strong and one day we can work together and help homeless people.

    TM, Your poem makes me hungry. It must be fun to sit down with your family and eat. Good job. Keep writing!

    KC, It sounds like you love your city, but you don’t like the way some people here act. You express yourself very well in this poem. I hope you write some more.

    MH, Your poem is a great description of the hood you used to live in, both good and bad things. It tells how good it is to have beaches and warm weather. Good poem.

    MR, You did a good job telling us good and bad things about the place where you’re from and how you and your friends have fun together and protect each other. Write more!


  2. RS, your poem is beautiful and sad. It shows hope that one day you can choose a better place, maybe go there with a plane you see in the sky. Keep doing good work in school!

    SL, you show in your poem how your family members care about each other and help you be strong. You all share–church, games and grits (I love them too). Good work.

    TJ, Your poem shows how much you love Jamaica and how much fun people can have there. It makes me want to go there! I hope you write some more.

    DD, Even if I didn’t live in Miami, I could feel what it’s like in your poem, You did a great job of using images to help the reader get the feeling of what you see.

    JJ, Your poem makes me feel the sun and the wind, hear the dogs, and taste the oatmeal. Maybe that’s me you see riding a bike! Thanks for the great poem!

    JR, I see by your poem you’re an outdoor person. after a good breakfast (Yum!). Me too. I agree Florida is a beautiful place, and your poem expresses that. Good job!


  3. Great images. I feel like I got to visit other people’s neighborhoods and I like to do that. DP, your poem reminds me of where I grew up. Even though other people go on vacation instead of you, it sounds like where you’re from is cool.


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