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    I come from

    I come from: Young people’s poetry of LGBTQIA+ belonging

    Posted by rrov201

    31 August 2021

    As an experience, loneliness can be frightening to think about. For LGBTQIA+ people especially, speaking about loneliness has the potential to trigger unhappy memories and emotions that strike deep chords within.

    Which is why for our first workshop with young LGBTQIA+ people (16-25), based in Cornwall, we began by thinking about the experience of belonging.

    Where do I feel like I belong?

    Where do I come from?

    To whom do I belong?

    So together we watched Dean Atta’s performance of the poem ‘I Come From’. This is a remarkably simple yet complex poem. Essentially you write it yourself, using only ‘I come from’ as the start of a line. Usually you’d join together two quite unlikely sources of belonging, such as

    I come from fish and chips and Chemistry homework.

    But over time, you end up with a really intimate and personal glimpse into what makes you you.

    The young people in our workshops each provided a line or so using the ‘I come from’ format. And the results were deeply moving. We’ll leave them to speak for themselves.

    I come from punk and the heart of the forest 

    I come from a feral family and well spoken words

    I come from rainbow and black and white 

    I come from total freedom and a medically controlled mind 

    I come from soft piano compositions and loud guitar screeches 

    I come from boy’s shirts and pretty skirts

    I come from neglect and care 

    I come from Instagram captions and polaroids being fashionable

    I come from boredom and an anxiously racing mind 

    I come from an empty bedroom and big crowds. 


    — Richard Vytniorgu

    N.B.: for those who wish to credit the poem by quoting it, please use University of Exeter as the ‘author’.


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