April 26, 2017

Write Your Own “Where I’m From” Poem and Enter to Win FREE Genealogy Gems Membership!

where im from poetry contestDid you see the contest we announced last week? Write your own version of a popular family history poem, and you could win a free 1-year Genealogy Gems Premium website subscription!

Last week, Lisa Louise Cooke welcomed Kentucky poet laureate George Ella Lyon to Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 185 (click here to listen – it’s free!). George Ella wrote a poem that has become a very popular family history writing exercise. It’s called “Where I’m From.” You can hear her read it on the podcast or click here to read it on her website.

“Where I’m From” follows a simple format anyone can follow. Make lists of things that remind you where you’re from: memories of people, places, words or phrases, food, smells, everyday household items, pastimes, hard times–whatever comes to mind. Then shape the list into a poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme or follow any set format. It just needs to sound good to you.

figure_talk_giant_phone_anim_300_wht_6767To encourage YOU to write your own “Where I’m From” poem, we’re sponsoring a giveaway. Here’s what you do: write your poem, then call in and read it on Lisa’s voicemail at (925) 272-4021) by December 31, 2015. Also leave your name, phone number, and email address on the voicemail so we can reach you (your phone and email will be kept private). On December 31, 2015 we will choose one caller to win a 1-year Genealogy Gems Premium website subscription, a $39.95 value–either a NEW subscription or a RENEWAL for any current member. We may share that caller’s poem and any others on upcoming Genealogy Gems podcast episodes–just to inspire everyone else!

Here are some tips from George Ella Lyon on writing your own version of “Where I’m From:”

  • “Just list whatever comes to mind to start: food, music, landscapes, people. Be open to whatever you think of.
  • This is a process. It may take several days to craft your list.
  • Later, as you organize what you write into its final shape, go back and see which lines have the most energy. Read it out loud. What order feels right?
  • Have fun! Don’t criticize yourself.
  • You can write “Where I’m From” from your current point of view or looking back.

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Ready to write your own poem? Ready to challenge some friends or fellow genie buddies to do the same? Just share this post with them by email or through your favorite social media channels. We can’t wait to hear from you!

About Sunny

Sunny Morton is a genealogy writer whose work is read by thousands in magazines and online. As a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems, she frequently posts on the news, but also loves to share quick research tips, reveal little-known resources or take genealogists for an exhilarating dive into deeper research topics and techniques. She's also the author of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories.