Nita Donovan
    Nita Donovan is a former Los Angeles City teacher and “Stepford Wife.” She was the alternate facilitator of the Saturday poetry workshop at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California, and was a volunteer teacher of English as a second language.
   A recent collection of poems, If We Had Stopped We Would Have Had Nothing, was published in 2008.
   I have known Nita since 1999, when I first walked into the Saturday poetry workshop now at Beyond Baroque but formerly at the Church in Ocean Park. I say "walked into" but I should say "walked up to" because that workshop used to take place on a stage, and in order to get up to the stage you had to cross an entire auditorium and you knew that everyone sitting in a circle on that stage was conscious of your humble (and usually late) arrival, your nervous attempt to join a serious and mightily talented but not, it turned out, impenetrable club. That club included Peter Layton, Paul Lieber, Bob Foster, Bruce Williams and Sarah Maclay, who facilitated, and this was where I first met Nita.  She showed up at that workshop week in, week out, and she always brought work, whether new or revised, as well as her insightful and heartfelt critiques. I say "heartfelt" because Nita approaches poetry intuitively, from the heart, from the gut, from the deepest insides of the body. This was evident from the start of my time in that circle, and it is still true today; but, for all that, her work is never sentimental at all--far from it.  Rather, it is suffused with humor and even mockery, and a strong commitment to exploring dreams and the unconscious, which remain for her the boundless reservoir from which a good portion of her poems flow. These poems are not meant for the page alone. When she stands before an audience, she has an unmistakable charisma that brings to life even the briefest and most elliptical pieces, because Nita has That Voice, she has That Timing--she has It.

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.

© 2010 Nita Donovan
Nita Donovan was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the July 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series