Poetry Friday–I AM From Poems

© Michelle Kogan Rogers Park Dunes Restoration with Piping Plover, endangered species, watercolor and watercolor on paper.

Roger’s Park Dunes Restoration and Piping Plover, endangered species, © 2018, Michelle Kogan, painted in 2012, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Happy Poetry Friday and Fall! As much as I love the changing seasons and colors of fall, I still have my feet stuck and holding onto lingering moments of our summer until she slips aside.

 I’m sharing I Am From poems, one I’ve been working on and just sent to the I Am From Project website, and another by Dr. Judy Branscom Jenks DNP, FNP-BC that I found on the site. I think the I Am From Project offers us a rich lexicon of all different voices and views, that resonate today. The project is a joint exploration of individual voices and where they are from, created by Julie Landsman and George Ella Lyon. In George Ella Lyon’s words, it’s “in response to the rhetoric of xenophobia and isolationism that is becoming rampant in our country. In such an atmosphere, how can we find our voices and make them heard? One avenue is through poetry, that heart-cry that comes to us in times of love and crisis.”

1-I am from poem and monarch milkweed art-Michelle-Kogan- 9-19-2018

Painting above, Monarch, Milkweed and Bees, WIP, © 2018 Michelle Kogan, Oil.

I Am From

Dr. Judy Branscom Jenks DNP, FNP-BC


One wise man in a white hat,

I am from Discipline.

A secret agent man

wearing briefcases like bracelets.

A calculator, born in woods so tilted

they shed their rock like sweat.


I am from a thinking woman.

A hellfire and brimstone daughter,

her words muted by callused hands.

Her progeny,

I’m from that spirited visionary

on paternalistic sod

hollering, I can!

I will!


I’m from scratched vinyl records, bell bottoms,

chalk erasures and bomb drills.

Whippoorwills, crawdads,

copperheads, and raw knees.

Bobwhite, bobwhite, bobwhite,

cattle racks, pressure canners, wood heat.

June Bugs on strings

and wars fought on monochrome TVs.

Read the rest of the poem at the I Am From Project website, scroll down a bit on the page to find Dr. Judy Branscom Jenks’ DNP, FNP-BC poem.


Visit Erin Mauger’s blog The Water’s Edge for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup! Thanks for hosting Erin!



About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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22 Responses to Poetry Friday–I AM From Poems

  1. lindabaie says:

    Thanks for sharing the links, Michelle. I’d like to try it. I love your poem and reading about all the parts of your life, centering on art of course, but that which put you there, too, like Chicago itself as one heartbeat. I love the “nature within my fingernails wrapped around my heart.” The 2nd poem connected a lot and those final ‘things’. I could have written it, and really did fly June bugs on strings.

  2. Tabatha says:

    Love your poem, Michelle! So warm and spirited, and full of heart/art. (June bugs on strings? I feel like Linda could write a whole novel about her life, don’t you?)

  3. macrush53 says:

    I wrote one years ago but I think it would be fun to write a new one. I learned so much about you from this poem. I loved the libraries stanza.

  4. jama says:

    Fabulous post, Michelle, truly a balm for the soul. Your watercolors are stunning and uplifting!! Love both poems, especially yours. So many great details, and the “poppycock political hoo ha” made me laugh.

  5. erinmauger says:

    “bellbottoms, braids, and braces” 🙂 Nice that you’re sharing your Where I’m from poem this week as well. I’m from Milwaukee, so looks like we shared the same Lake.

  6. “Beauty so close you can hear her whispering/ in your ear” Sigh. I so enjoyed getting to know you even better through your poem, Michelle. I simply MUST get to writing one one of these days!

  7. Sally Murphy says:

    Love it! especially the “Questioning and questions” stanza.
    This is such a brilliant project.

  8. margaretsmn says:

    Your I am From poem is rich with details and images. I love the alliteration throughout and “nature within my fingernails wrapped around my heart.” Your paintings reflect that love of Chicago and of nature.

  9. Michelle, your poem is familiar to me…even though its not where I’m from. The comfort of the library stories and the gardens are parts of where I’m from too. I love how much love you have for where you are from. It’s absolutely beautiful. A love poem.

  10. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I love reading all these poems collected through the years and across our country that combine in a lovely chorus. Your poem is a rich contribution. I love the stanza about libraries lined with wonder–YES!

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