“Write a poem tonight. Make it as good as you possibly can.  Four, six or eight lines. Make it as good as you can. Don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it to anybody. When you’re satisfied it’s as good as you can make it, tear it up in small pieces and scatter those pieces between widely separated trash receptacles and you will find out you have received your full reward for having done it.” These are the words of Kurt Vonnegut.
    And so the Saturday Afternoon Poetry Workshop at Beyond Baroque proceeds more or less in this spirit. Facilitated by Bob Foster, it meets every single Saturday of the year, except holidays. Poets at all stages of their development gather without competitiveness, without rancor, without a huge amount of worldly ambition, content to share and refine and re-envision and perhaps sometimes relinquish their treasured creations and start from scratch. This is not by and large an unapproachable, elitist cabal of hipsters, artistes and academicians—far from it. Nor are we are (happily and sadly) a Machiavellian clique of users and self-promoters. We sit around the table, we do what we can, sometimes what we must, and we provide a safe space for poets to share their poems. We welcome newcomers. We venerate old-timers. Today at this reading we will hear from some of the regulars. Today is not a time for critiquing. It is a time for performing poetry—which comes more easily to some than to others. But we’re not actors. Try to listen. This is not the multiplex—we have no Leo DiCaprio, but it’s better here than at the multiplex. Leave the outside world behind for awhile (ignore the fire engines). These poems have been tenderly polished by their adult creators and are now ready to face the glare of public inspection. Briefly they emerge from the sanctuary of their computer hard-drives or bottom drawers and sniff a little earthly air and take a look around… before retiring again to what could be called (borrowing an expression from Henry James) the sphere of celestial reward. 
    To begin, here are some short poems by Nita Donovan, a dedicated member of our circle, who died suddenly in February of this year.

So Forth and So On

Where was I? Oh yes, I was considering conspiracy
and lying, which I have and did when I said, “I do”
but what would you say if told to learn short hand
or become a dental assistant? Well, I lied and said, “I will.”

Still Life

There is always poison under the gravy

Sure, there is wine
bubbly white
its bottle a pellucid green.

Perhaps it’s an anniversary.
On the far right, a man’s head
face down on a stained
wood table.

Maybe he is drunk
or possibly dead
But wait
on the left, only a woman’s
pale arm extends
her hand holds a glass as if
to toast the man.
Well, didn’t he


You know when you know
and I knew,
looked the other way
when these hands
like lumps of yellowed wax
served him
wine, liver, sautéed onions
and he said, Wipe off your lipstick,
it’s too red.

© 2011 Nita Donovan
Poets from THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON WORKSHOP at BEYOND BAROQUE, including  BOB FOSTER, FLOR DE TE, GEDDA ILVES, ALEX M. FRANKEL, DOUG JACOBS and GAIL GAULDIN MOORE were the Featured Poets who read their poetry at the December 2011 and October 2013 Second Sunday Poetry Series.