Monday Night Poetry – 2/20/23 – Writing Workshop / Exercise:

Getting to Know Strangers


Pair off in groups of two. Flip a coin. Whoever flips the other person calls. Whoever wins the coin toss picks between odds and evens from the list below. You now each have ten individual items to prompt an interview style back and forth until all twenty items have been covered. Each person should take notes on what the other person says and use those notes as a blue print for a poem that is half a conversation. The coin toss and using notes taken from others impromptu responses will emphasize the unforgettable and unforeseen elements we encounter in our communication with strangers. Good luck!

20 ways to start a conversation with a stranger

1. Gather information

2. Compliment the stranger

3. Bring up a shared topic

4. Introduce yourself

5. Ask open-ended questions

6. Stay up-to-date on current events

7. Offer to help

8. Share an interesting fact

9. Ask for their opinion

10. Ask for lunch advice

11. Comment on a viral video

12. Be straightforward

13. Ask for help

14. Discuss common interests

15. Make an insightful comment

16. Mention a shared trait

17. Ask a question about their background

18. Ask for advice

19. Comment on a shared activity

20. Tell a joke

Taken from: 


“Marius and Cosette were in the dark in regard to each other. They did not speak, they did not bow, they were not acquainted; they saw each other; and, like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.”

— Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”

William Butler Yeats

“If you age with somebody, you go through so many roles – you’re lovers, friends, enemies, colleagues, strangers; you’re brother and sister. That’s what intimacy is, if you’re with your soulmate.”

Cate Blanchett

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

“It’s good to remember that in crises, natural crises, human beings forget for awhile their ignorances, their biases, their prejudices. For a little while, neighbors help neighbors and strangers help strangers.”

Maya Angelou

“. . .sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that?”

“Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.”

— Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)

“2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

— Hebrews 13:2 ESV

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Monday Night Poetry 2/6/23

Phil: “You want a prediction about the weather? You’re asking the wrong Phil. I’m going to give you a prediction about this winter? It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be dark and it’s going to last you for the rest of your lives!”

— Bill Murray as Phil in Groundhog Day


“Marriage is like a game of chess except the board is flowing water, the pieces are made of smoke and no move you make will have any effect on the outcome.”

Jerry Seinfeld

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

— Vincent Van Gogh

“September 11… I will never forget feeling scared and vulnerable… I will never forget feeling the deep sad loss of so many lives… I will never forget the smell of the smoke that reached across the water and delivered a deep feeling of doom into my gut… I will never forget feeling the boosted sense of unity and pride… I will never forget seeing the courageous actions of so many men and women… I will never forget seeing people of all backgrounds working together in community… I will never forget seeing what hate can destroy… I will never forget seeing what love can heal…”

— Steve Maraboli

“The poets say some moths will do anything out of love for a flame


The moth takes off again, and we both step back, because he’s circling at eye level now and seems to have lost rudder control, smacking into the wall on each round. He circles lower and lower, spinning around the candle in tighter revolutions, like a soap sud over an open drain. A few times he seems to touch the flame, but dances off unhurt.

Then he ignites like a ball of hair, curling into an oily puff of fumes with a hiss. The candle flame flickers and dims for a moment, then burns as bright as before.

Moth Smoke Lingers.”

— Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke

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Monday Night Poetry w/Collective Breath – Poetry Book ClubFebruary Poet: Ashlee Haze

Ashlee Haze is a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. Earning the nickname “Big 30″ because of her consistency in getting a perfect score, she is one of the most accomplished poets in the sport of poetry slam. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade and has been writing over 15 years. Ashlee Haze is a 3- time Queen of the South poetry Slam Champion, 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Finalist and 2- time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist. She recently appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk series alongside Queen & Slim composer Blood Orange. Her sophomore book “Smoke” is available now. 

(From Ashlee’s website: )


Natural Hair Baptist

Self Reclamation in Three Parts

For Colored Girls

(The Missy Elliott poem)

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert


(Redemption Song)

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Monday Night Poetry – February Calendar

For all of the planners out there, here’s your month ahead….
See the Spoken Views Collective Facebook page for more event details…
Writing Prompts:
2/6/23 – “Atlanta, GA” “Smoke” and/or “Groundhog Day”
2/13/23 – “Companionship” and/or “Friendship”
2/20/23 – “Don’t talk to strangers”
2/27/23 – “Mystery Machine”
Weekly Open Mic (every Monday)
Produced, directed, and hosted by active members of Spoken Views Collective
Shim’s Surplus Supplies Co.
125 W 3rd, Reno, NV
Jesse James Ziegler – Poet
5:00PM – Doors Open
5:30PM – Sign-Ups Open
6:00PM – Prompt Open
6:30PM – Mic Open
No hate speech, violence, racism, misogyny, or disrespectful disruptive behavior will be tolerated. No predatory behavior will be tolerated. As an ongoing regular event for Spoken Views Collective, MONDAY NIGHT POETRY has a zero tolerance policy for the fore mentioned behaviors. Spoken Views Collective additionally designates the evening’s HOST as reserving the right to have any and all individuals breaking these expected codes of conduct (which honor the humanity in each other) removed and denied service. If patterns of behavior are either singularly egregious enough or show a pattern of behavior across multiple venues or events then individuals may be denied access to the Collective altogether in order to maintain our vision as a community entity.
#poetry #poet #poets #poetrycommunity #spokenword #spokenwordartist #openmic #poetryshow #poetryevent #brukapoetry #sidewayseightprojects #reno #nevada #spokenviewscollective #biggestlittlecity #mondaynightpoetry #poetryisnotdead #goldenageofpoetry #shimssurplussupplies #poem #poems #stage #performancepoetry #performancepoet #collective #renoartscene #renoarts #art #artist
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Monday Night Poetry – 1/16/23 – Writing Prompt: The Content of our Character

Addressing the writing prompt : “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr

The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race In America Paperback – September 23, 1998

Book by Shelby Steele

Reprint Edition

Originally published in 1990

In this controversial essay collection, award-winning writer Shelby Stelle illuminates the origins of the current conflict in race relations–the increase in anger, mistrust, and even violence between black and whites. With candor and persuasive argument, he shows us how both black and white Americans have become trapped into seeing color before character, and how social policies designed to lessen racial inequities have instead increased them. The Content of Our Character is neither “liberal” nor “conservative,” but an honest, courageous look at America’s most enduring and wrenching social dilemma. [from]

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Quotes

1. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

2. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

3. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

4. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

5. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

6. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

7. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

8. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

9. “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

10. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

11. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

12. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

13. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

14. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

Related: 30 Black Americans to Celebrate During Black History Month 

15. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

16. “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

17. “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

18. “The time is always right to do what is right.”

19. “Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”

20. “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop… I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”

21. “For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”

22. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

23. “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

24. “There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”

25. “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

26. “A lie cannot live.”

27. “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

28. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

29. “There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”

30. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

31.  “Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”

32. “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

33. “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

34. “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

35. “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

36. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

37. “Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, “Love or perish.” Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

38. “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

39. “In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

40. “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will. And we shall continue to love you.”

41. “If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”

42. “That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”

43. “You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself. And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself.”

44. “All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”

45. “You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream.”

46. “I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”

47. “Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”

48. “A right delayed is a right denied.”

49. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

50. “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

51. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

52. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

53. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

54. “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”

55. “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”

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Monday Night Poetry – 1/16/23 – Writing Workshop: Emotional Inheritance


“The people we love and those who raised us live inside us; we experience their emotional pain, we dream their memories, and these things shape our lives in ways we don’t always recognize. Emotional Inheritance is about family secrets that keep us from living to our full potential, create gaps between what we want for ourselves and what we are able to have, and haunt us like ghosts.” Emotional Inheritance Galit Atlas, PhD [Jacket Cover]

“Names are a significant part of one’s identity. In first sessions, I usually ask people about the meaning of their names, inquire who chose the names for them and why, and wonder if there are specific meanings or stories associated with their names. Names are connected to emotions, the hopes parents have for their child, who they think the child will become or want the child to become. A name reflects the parents’ feelings about having that child. It contains remembrances from the past as well as a vision of the future.” Emotional Inheritance Galit Atlas, PhD [page 106]


Think upon your own name (the one given to you at birth or the one you’ve given yourself since) Focus on its parts (first, middle, last, nickname, Jr? Sr?) How do you feel about your own name? What stories arise? What symbols arise? What emotions arise? What name might you choose for yourself in a witness protection program? How has your name effected your character and/or your being?

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Collective Breath – Poetry Book Club – December Poet: Ebony Stewart

Collective Breath – Poetry Book Club

Biggest Little City

December Poet


Houston, TX


Books for Perusal:

Blood Fresh

Love Letters to Balled up Fists

Home. Girl. Good.

Poems Shared (Titles, Durations, and Links)

Note to self (2:35)

Mental Health Barz (5:49)

Pray Tell Them (2:34)

Burnt Sugar (4:25)

Sway (1:47)

Elegy (Quotes) Monday Night Poetry 12/5/22

I am not a finished poem, and I am not the song you’ve turned me into. I am a detached human being, making my way in a world that is constantly trying to push me aside, and you who send me letters and emails and beautiful gifts wouldn’t even recognise me if you saw me walking down the street where I live tomorrow

for I am not a poem.

I am tired and worn out and the eyes you would see would not be painted or inspired

but empty and weary

from drinking too much

at all times

and I am not the life of your party who sings and has glorious words to speak

for I don’t speak much

at all

and my voice is raspy and unsteady from unhealthy living and not much sleep and I only use it when I sing and I always sing too much

or not at all

and never when people are around because they expect poems and symphonies and I am not

a poem

but an elegy

at my best

but unedited and uncut and not a lot of people want to work with me because there’s only so much you can do with an audio take, with the plug-ins and EQs and I was born distorted, disordered, and I’m pretty fine with that,

but others are not.

— Charlotte Eriksson, Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving


“but at the Lychgate we may all pass our own conduct and our own judgments under a searching review. It is not given to human beings, happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable, to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events. In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.”

— Winston S. Churchill


“We pass and leave you lying. No need for rhetoric, for funeral music, for melancholy bugle-calls. No need for tears now, no need for regret.

We took our risk with you; you died and we live. We take your noble gift, salute for the last time those lines of pitiable crosses, those solitary mounds, those unknown graves, and turn to live our lives out as we may.

Which of us were fortunate–who can tell? For you there is silence and cold twilight drooping in awful desolation over those motionless lands. For us sunlight and the sound of women’s voices, song and hope and laughter, despair, gaiety, love–life.

Lost terrible silent comrades, we, who might have died, salute you.”

— Richard Aldington, Roads To Glory


“You drank some darkness

and became visible.”

— Tomas Tranströmer, The Half-Finished Heaven


“Elegies are poems dedicated to the dead. The American hillbilly(assuming we can use that word for the white working class) isn’t dead; she is just poor.”

— Anthony Harkins, Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy


“For me elegy

is a Ouija planchette

something I pretend not to touch

as I push it around trying

to make it say

what I want it to say”

— Mark Bibbins, 13th Balloon


“Little idiosyncratic expressions can form

A sense of who one is. Who one was.

One can, hypothetically, be brought back

In the form of an actor

Who gives an after the fact replication

Of text conveyed in a character’s voice.

I can no more understand the world as a stage

Of myself, mired as I am,

In this missing.”

— Mary Jo Bang, Elegy


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The Founder of Spoken Views Collective ( )
Iain Watson and I will be delivering some poetry at this amazing event today in support of Good Luck Macbeth’s ELEVATE campaign. Visit their website for more information and to DONATE.
( )
#fundraiser #elevate #elevation #reno #midtown #theatre #communitytheatre #biggestlittlecity #biggestlittlecityintheworld#renotahoe #nevada #homemeansnevada #poetry #poet #poets #poem #poems #poetrycommunity #community #poetryisnotdead #giving #vision #goal #spokenword #spokenwordartist #spokenwordpoetry #spokenwordperformance #spokenwordpoet #performancepoet #hope

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Canine Couch Cuddles

It’s the simple priceless pleasures in life which are the ones we can least afford to do without.
#worldcup #worldcup2022 #dogs #dogsofinstagram #couchcuddles #poet #poets #poem #poems #poetry #poetrycommunity #poetryisnotdead #spokenword #spokenwordartist #spokenwordpoetry #spokenwordperformance #performancepoet #pagepoet #reno #sparks #spanishsprings #canine #nevada #vacation #holiday #rest #finn #honey #zigmac
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MNP – 11/14/22 – The Persistence of Memory/ Sense Memory Writing Workshop

Adam Grant @AdamMGrant

“Writing is more than a vehicle for communicating ideas. It’s a tool for crystallizing ideas.

Writing exposes gaps in your knowledge and logic. It pushes you to articulate assumptions and consider counterarguments.

One of the best paths to sharper thinking is frequent writing.”

Sense Memory Writing Workshop: MNP 11/14/22

Think back to a time, very early on in your life,

in which people gathered for a meal. It doesn’t have to be for a holiday. It only matters that the meal is special or distinct somehow in your memory.

1. What sounds do you remember? Things said? Ambient noise? Entertainment in the background?

2. What sights do you remember? Individual dishes? People’s faces? Decorations? Table settings? Weather patterns?

3. What touches do you remember? The way things felt in your hand in their use? Embraces with loved ones? Eating with hands? Temperatures? Proximity to one another?

4. What tastes do you remember? (Challenge: Try to describe the tastes without naming the dish and with only minimal use of listing ingredients)

5. What smells do you remember? The food itself? The scented candles? Someone’s dog passing gas or a distinctive city smell? Someone’s perfume or the froth on a beverage?

6. What spiritual purposes were served by the meal? What inner movements did you personally experience? What core memories were stamped upon your being from this instance? What was being celebrated or mourned if anything?

Using your personal responses to the field of questions surrounding your six senses, formulate a short poem (approx. 25 lines or less) which best encapsulates the overall experience of the meal at a young age.

Be sure to include a conclusion or summary of some sort which allows your audience to know your personal take away message or point of growth given the years of retrospect since the memorable event.


The Persistence of Memory (Catalan: La persistència de la memòria) is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí and one of the most recognizable works of Surrealism. First shown at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, which received it from an anonymous donor. It is widely recognized and frequently referred to in popular culture,[1] and sometimes referred to by more descriptive titles, such as “Melting Clocks”, “The Soft Watches” or “The Melting Watches”.

— Source: Wikipedia


The Persistence of Memory

For further personal reading:


“You welcome your children into the world knowing that if all goes the way you plan, you won’t get to see the end of their story. It seems a sad notion until you realize that’s what gives you hope for the future.”

— David Mack, The Persistence of Memory (Star Trek TNG: Cold Equations, #1)

“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”

Bob Dylan

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good.”

Gretchen Rubin

“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”

Alek Wek

“You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories.”

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

“In the egoic state, your sense of self, your identity, is derived from your thinking mind – in other words, what your mind tells you about yourself: the storyline of you, the memories, the expectations, all the thoughts that go through your head continuously and the emotions that reflect those thoughts. All those things make up your sense of self.”

Eckhart Tolle

“Memory is quite central for me. Part of it is that I like the actual texture of writing through memory. I like the atmospheres that result if episodes are narrated through the haze of memory.”

Kazuo Ishiguro

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