"Where I'm From" by Billie Quesenberry
Adaptation of George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From"
First place poetry prize
Chrysalis Literary and Arts Magazine
You can read George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm From" on her web site, and listen to her read it. She was inspired by another great Appalachian writer, Jo Carson, and the people in her book of poems Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet (Poem 22 includes the lines "But honey, where are you from?" and "You're not from here are you?," and lines that begin "I am from....") Lyon's web site provides ideas for using this poem to inspire your own writing, and links to poems and videos by students in different places and many Kentuckians.
The poem below was written by a student in Tina Hanlon's Appalachian Literature class at Ferrum College in Fall 2015. Billie Quesenbery, class of 2017, is from Floyd, Virginia. Her poem is reprinted here with permission after being published in the Spring 2015 issue of Chrysalis Literary and Arts Magazine, where it won a first-place prize for poetry. (Billie is second from left in photo at right of prize winners.)
See others from this poetry tradition on the page "Where I'm From" Poems by Ferrum College Students. Some poem excerpts from Ferrum's Appalachian cluster students and Dr. Rathin Basu's Business Communications class were presented at the Appalachian College Association Summit in October 2009 (pdf copy of one PowerPoint slide at this link).
Another poem that Billie Quesenbery wrote about her hometown,"More than a Map Dot," is also reprinted in this web site.
copyright 2015 Ferrum College
Contact Tina L. Hanlon with questions or comments on this page.