An Amazing Finale

The words and images of those experiencing homelessness were received with overwhelming compassion at the opening reception on April 21st. Spoken Views added a wonderful audible component, inciting the audience to reflect on a wide range of emotions.

Thank you to all who participated. This was a life-changing experience.


Lovely Friends

I am sad knowing that this week will be the last week that this project will be holding classes at the Volunteers of America shelter. I am going to miss my beautiful friends. I hope to return soon and that all of them will be able to see how much they have affected me by coming to the opening exhibit. I can honestly say that through this project I have been able to better understand the world in which we live. I feel that each and every one of us can learn so much from the innocence of children. I feel that often times, our inner child is the only thing that can save us from the often harsh realities of life. I hope to see many of the friends I have made along the way this Thursday at the Ice Cream social finale of the poetry teachings.

We took a Break from Writing to Make Masks!

We took a break from writing at yesterday’s class to make ugly duckling masks with Katherine Miller.
After she read that classic tale to the group, we all began making the funniest or scariest masks(or fancyest, as Lealani would say) that our creative minds could imagine.
Next week is the last poetry class and there will be an ice cream social! We are all looking forward to it, but the ending will be bitter-sweet.

Thursday’s Class was Small but Sweet!

For St. Patrick’s Day, Angela Spires came well dressed for the occasion!
We had a lot of fun writing Dr. Seuss-style poetry, and every family took home their own Dr. Seuss book!.
Holly, the mother of an adorable set of twin boys named Kai and Koa, wrote this poem using the names of her children:
Leilani Lou and Kai Guy
Were one day feeling like going bye bye
They decided to go to the beach sneach
Right after they each had a fuzzy peach
Hula Island was the place to be
Swimming happily in the blue sea

Week 5 Workshop with Gailmarie and David

Hi everyone!

Gailmarie: David and I worked with about 7-8 participants, 4 of whom were children. I took the first part of the session; we talked about writing poems that come from our actual dreams. I read them a few examples written by children from the text, Wishes, Lies and Dreams by Kenneth Koch. I also read them a couple of Richard Hugo’s “adult” dream poems from his collection 31 Letters and 13 Dreams. We talked about how dream poems make a silly sense sometimes; we know they’re not “true,” but they are “real.” Everyone then wrote a dream poem, and some of those were scary, some poignant, some funny.

Here’s “Marissa’s Dream” —

I had a dream that I was living
in Kentucky and was in
the old days 1835. I saw lots
of old buildings and I was walking
down the street and I went to
this lady’s house. She was 80
years old. I went to live with
her cause she was too old to do
stuff. So when I was there
she asked for her pills she said
they were in her cabinet. I got
them for her. When I went
in the room …
She was dead!!!
and when I was at her funeral
I had to live on my own and I
was at the age of 9.
And Theresa’s “In Sleeping Slumber” —

In sleeping slumber I did
lay in quiet solitude

Amongst the tiny daffodills
with mist of morning dew

As I did breathe the morning
air with all its wondrous smells

I took me back to days of
young and those who knew me well.

As I recall when we were
young those sleepless nights
of summer

Are now the days which
I recall while in my sleeping
David: Then I pulled out my old Gibson guitar and played a few Woody Guthrie songs. I talked about how Woody wrote his poems and set them to music to tell people about the problems of the hundreds of thousands of homeless migrants to California during the last Great Depression.

Here’s “Dust Bowl Refugee” —

I’m a dust bowl refugee
Just a dust bowl refugee
From the Dust Bowl to the Peach Bowl
And now this peach fuzz is killin’ me.

Across the mountains to the sea
Come the wife and kids and me
It’s a long and dusty highway
For a dust bowl refugee.
It’s a simple two-chord melody, and after singing it a few times we started writing poems to it, using the same rhythm so the new words would fit Woody’s old song.

Theresa again:

I’m a mother, coming home
No more I wander, no more roam
I’ve come a long way
From Kentucky
I’m a mother, coming home.
And Marissa again:

I’m a girl with a funny mother.
Just a girl with a funny mother.
She’s my mother
Such a bugger
I’m a girl with a funny mother.
And here’s a poem that Nikki wrote today:

Caring, generous, loving mother

Sister of Charles, Matthew, Amanda,
Sierra, Sean, daughter of Lexie
and David, wife of James, mother of …

Lover of animals, cooking, James,
life, knowledge.

Who needs rest, to see my son,
my husband and daughters

Who fears the dark, spiders, loss
of family, public speaking

Who gives love, life, opinions,

Who would like to take a trip to the sea.
Thank you, every one of you!

David and Gailmarie

Week 5 of Poetry Classes

Tomorrow, professors David Fenimore and Gailmarie Pahmeier will lead the poetry workshop at the VoA shelter. Looking forward to another great class!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for April 21st at 5pm, when all of this great work will be on display at the DeLaMare library. The reception will be free open to the public and will feature a presentation by Spoken Views of Reno.

Our project recently made it on the cover of the Volunteers of America newsletter! 20110301_135721

Week 4 Workshop with Anu

Hi Everyone:

I thought I would write in with an update about today’s workshop. We
were about 5 in all when we began but the group grew to 8 in a short
while. I introduced the group to Acrostic poems and Limericks and I
must say, we had great fun. After a brief intro to acrostics and
limericks, everyone was soon writing on BATS, CAT, DOG, and COWBOY –
the last being the hardest (in terms of the length of the word), but
also somehow the most fun! Here are some samples from the day:

Nikki wrote:

Climbing the curtains
Attacking the string
Tabletops and counters favorite places to be

Todd wrote:

Champion of the rodeo
Ornery and drink, he
Will shoot you.
Boisterous and loud, also an
Outstanding equestrian
You better watch out for a crazy cowboy!

Pattie wrote:


And I am saving the best for the last. Here are samples of limericks
for which only a funny first line was provided:

By Todd:

The man with a very large nose
tried, but also had no toes
He tripped when he walked
and sneezed when he talked
But “achhoo!” that’s the way life goes!

While I was travelling one day in Peru
I saw a man playing a kazoo
I said “Hey whatcha doin’?”
He yelled “I’m kazooin’
And it’s something you could be doin’ too!”

This one’s sort of wonky as far as limericks go, but it’s very touching in
its own way:

By Nikki:

I was startled one day by a hen
I choked on my pen
Fell and hit my head
And then I was dead
And they laughed at me in heaven.

More of these will be up at the exhibit, so I hope we’ll all share a
laugh with the very accomplished wits who came up with these gems.
Thanks, Alex, for a great day! And thanks Le Anne, Pattie, Lulu, Todd, Nikki,Nick, Arielle, Christy, Jordan, Nevaeh (Heaven in reverse!) and Joy Ann, and Alex for a wonderful workshop.