Art Beyond Sight collaborated with Chelsea Lemon-Fetzer, a Brooklyn-based writer, to offer a creative writing workshop to fourth graders at the Brooklyn Charter school. Chelsea knew that the students had been corresponding with pen pals from France and South Africa, sharing information about their lives at school and in their neighborhood, so she decided to further explore the notion of home and where they are from with them. She encouraged them to awake their senses while guiding them through series of questions, such as: “What smell reminds you of home?” “What is the name of the street you know?” “What do you see when you look out your bedroom window?” “What hairdos some people in your family have?” After answering these and similar questions, students inserted the words “I am from” in front of their answers. This unexpected combination created some poems at once funny and poignant, as shown below.
This project was inspired by Georges Ella Lyon’s poem “Where I am from.”
I am from chocolate brownies.
I am from did you bring me something?
I am from the backyard.
I am from Hart st, between Throop nad Thompkins.
I am from garbage cans
I am from Chris Brown "Strip."
I am from jerk chicken, beans and rice, and shrimp, cranberry chicken salads.
I am from Girls: having ponytails, braids, curly and stright, boys: regular hair cut.
I am from dereon shirtts, blue jeans and black leather boots.
I am from 149.
I am from Brooklyn Hospital.
I am from chicken and apple pie.
I am from I love you/see you later.
i am from the supermarket.
i am from unreal friends.
i am from Thompkins Avenue.
I am from dogs, babies, and stars.
I am from Justin Bieber "Boyfriend."
I am from Rihanna "What's my name."
I am from Hamburger helper/chicken alfrodo/macaroni/steak.
I am from kinki twist.
I am from polka dotted dresses.
I am from 500% of the neighborhood.
I am from Brookdale Hospital