Appalachia I Am From

Where I’m From

When I first started blogging back in 2008 a poem writing exercise was making the rounds of the blogosphere. I gave the directions a try and came up with a poem that had real meaning for me.

A few years later I was taking a writing class and the teacher asked us to use the same poem template in class as a way to break the ice and get to know each other. The teacher said she often used the template because it enabled even novice poets to write a poem full of emotion.

Check out my poem:

I Am From Canning Jars

Tipper I am From

I am from canning jars, bare feet, and Gibson guitars

I am from steep ridges, dark hollers, and burned bridges

          I am from Irises, Peonies, and Day-lilies

       From fresh mown hay, Dogwoods, and red clay

          I am from pulpwood cutters, truck drivers, and homemakers

  I am from full hearts, empty pockets, and hard work

         I am from Jerry and Louzine who made me, from Wade and Marie who helped raise me

        I am from Charles and Gazzie who loved me

         I am from helping hands, do unto others, and always be kind

              I am from goodnight sleep tight and things will turn out alright

        I am from Camping In Canaan’s Land, The Old Rugged Cross, and Just As I Am

           I am from Ireland over the sea, North Carolina, and Tennessee

    From cornbread and beans, biscuits and gravy

         I am from the Marine, the sweet mother, and the two brothers


The template for the poem can be found here: Where I’m From. I encourage you to check out the template and write your own poem. If nothing else write it for your children or grandkids, I promise they’d be glad you wrote it.


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Very inspiring, and provoking – both of thoughts and memories too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    July 28, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Beautifully done, Tipper. I love your poem.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    What a great way to share who you are! Some people are not comfortable getting up in front of others to talk about himself/herself. I love this idea. Now that I am retired I can’t try it with students, but I might try it about me and share it with my granddaughter.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    July 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Beautiful poem. Your words paint a vivid picture of your life. I bookmarked this page for I want to try composing a poem of my own.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Beautiful, yours too Alice.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    All those above pictures give us a
    better light to what you’re saying.
    And girl, you proudly have shown
    us your light of Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    July 27, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Love it Tipper, well done, and the photos add so much depth to this! Blessings, Jen

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    July 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Enjoyed you poem, Tipper. In 2009 I posted my poem, I am From Appalachia, on my blog. Here is a link to it:

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I’ve never read a more moving and evocative encapsulation of a rich heritage! You have once again inspired me, and I plan to write one of these for my grandchildren.

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    July 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for sharing this template. I am definitely going to try it. Love your poem, too.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    July 27, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Tipper: As one from over in the mountains would say, YOU DONE GOOD! “Straight from the Heart” – as the news folks say over here on the Knoxville TV.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 27, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I loved your poem. You are indeed very blessed.
    I match a few of your stanzas, especially the one that states; I am from Ireland over the sea, North Carolina and Tennessee…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I simply cannot write poetry but, I have loved it all my adult years. That poem of yours is great! It seems that there’s things in all our minds that just can’t be related with everyday language. It can only come to life in a poem. You always seem to show us things that let us wander back into those almost forgotten gentle areas of our minds and past Tipper. Thanks for this today; You’re the best!

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    July 27, 2013 at 9:38 am

    That is absolutely beautiful. I got a visual with every line.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    July 27, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Loved it!!!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Tipper, you are so talented! I could never write a poem except the juvenile ones where the verses have to rhyme.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 27, 2013 at 9:22 am

    that stirs some sharp, sweet memories for me. Thanks for sharing your poem.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Lovely – both yours and Alicia’s.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

    When I taught, I had my students (high schoolers) use the same template. Very good way to get to know them.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Love poetry and love your poem. Poetry seems to express what is in our deepest spirit, and it is a great therapy for troubled times. I must compose one from the template. I needed the poem, as I have been much too busy with gardening. Thanks, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Alica @ Happily Married to the Cows
    July 27, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I love these poems! Thanks for sharing yours!! We did this at Church a few years back, and mine is on my blogger profile. Here’s a copy…I hope it doesn’t take up too much space here in your comments! 🙂
    I am from…hay tunnels, raw milk, and mooing hummies.
    I am from large farmhouses with dark, dirt floored cellars, shelves filled with canned goods and the path worn to Grandma’s house.
    I am from women who milked the cows, hands rough from outside work, from a quartet of girls, from Elizabeth, Ella and Helen.
    I am from shelling lima beans until my fingers are numb, husking corn and singing silly songs at the top of my lungs to pass the time.
    I am from the Buck, but it’s not in the Boonies like everyone says, from Herr and Neff and Harnish and Shenk, from lima beans served with milk and butter, and Grandma’s baked chicken.
    I am from avoiding conflict at all cost, from trying to please others, “To have a friend you must show yourself friendly!” and “Call if you’re going to be late!”
    I am from the depression- era widow with 2 small boys, who went to market to feed her family, from the sweet grandmother who lived to see 3 centuries .
    I am from a long line of traditional Mennonites, 4-part harmony, “Praise to God Immortal Praise” and “Let us return thanks”.
    I am from shelves of scrapbooks, lovingly crafted to share the stories of life for generations to come.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 7:36 am

    very clever—and of what I know of you–you wrote yourself well!!!

  • Reply
    Linda Sykes
    July 27, 2013 at 7:16 am

    BEST poem I’ve ever read…. maybe because our roots are similar and I feel myself in your poem? Thank you for sharing that!

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