I am from mud pies,

from old stone walls and leaf-buried granite boulders.

From kickball and the tire swing

and skates still skittering on swamp ice

deep in the woods at twilight.


I’m from Gorky’s Mother and Goya: Frescos

bookshelves spanning the walls.

Sam, Bangs and Moonshine and The Railway Children

on Mom’s lap, read aloud.

I’m from a metallurgist and a sculptor

From Bengal, and Cambridge, and the Town of Harvard.


I’m from fine public schools, conserved land, and history.

From lay-offs, high taxes, and rusting chassis.

I’m from shattered plates, gravel spitting, and dust motes swirling down.

I’m from the end of the driveway,

Formica, canvas cots, and Rice-a-Roni.

I’m from If-I’d-been-better, and Maybe-they’ll-get-back-together,

from Tell-your-mother, Tell-your-father, and



I’m from Miss Johnson’s first grade, Mrs. Turner’s fourth,

from Oberlin Shakespeare, Folklore, Geology, and Philosophy.

I’m from Columbia University, where I learned to write poems.

I am from teachers who welcomed me

into a thinking community.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Where I Learned to Write Poems by Kiran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
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