Forgotten Voices Poetry Group

Poets and poetry lovers are invited to Forgotten Voices meetings, held on the first Saturday of each month at 1 pm at the library.

Forgotten Voices Featured Poet (May 4, 2019)

Cheryl Baldi is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, a former Bucks County Poet Laureate, and a finalist for the Robert Fraser Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared widely in journals, including Bitter Oleander, for which she was a finalist in the 2006 Francis Locke Memorial Award and Salamander, which nominated her work in 2008 for the Best New Poets anthology. She served on the faculty of Bucks County Community College for 25 years teaching writing and literature, has worked as a free-lance editor, and served as co-facilitator for community based workshops exploring women’s lives through literature. Her collection of poems, The Shapelessness of Water,evokes a coastal landscape that echoes the loss and love of four generations of family. She lives with her husband in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Mini-Workshop Summary

Recently, I have been thinking about the importance of  “place” in my own work; for me it is the shore, where I live during the summer. And I have come to realize that the coastal imagery in my poetry often works as a conduit for exploring and discovering my deepest, most significant emotions.

The essayist Loren Eiseley writes, “ …man has a right to his sense of place.” And yes, we each have a “sense of place” in the world, a place where we feel at home, where we feel we belong. It might be an actual place, a remembered or an imaginary place.

Prompt: Where is your place in the world? Write about it, using as much sensory detail as you can, details that most fully connect you to this place.



About Forgotten Voices:

Many of our members write poetry, although, writing is not a requirement to attend. We welcome all ages, abilities, and interests. We enjoy listening to what each member shares. Please come and read a poem by a poet you like or a poem you have written, or just come to listen! If you love poetry, please join us!
Contact: Joanne Leva

Free and open to the public. We meet the first Saturday of each month from 1-3 pm in the Community Room. We are a group of people who are interested in poetry and have been meeting at the Indian Valley Public Library for over 22 years. The Forgotten Voices Poetry Group is led by Joanne Leva, creator of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate program. Go to for more information about the program.


Poetry by Forgotten Voices Members

Working Girls

The seats spin at the pink

formica counter

I am hon, dear, doll, and sweetheart

The clatter of coffee cups and spoons


Drowns out the surrounding world

Bacon seals itself onto my clothes

The aroma of coffee moves through the air

to my nose like a feature cartoon.


Here is my place, these are my places

From the long, hard road I am the man du jour

At Local Louie’s, everyone knows my name

I am welcome and we belong.


Dear woman, how are your feet today?

They ooze from the sides of your shoes

Your talents all placed aside for this work

And I thank you for being here


That sharp tone coming from the kitchen;

You endure

I dream of the lottery for you

And you smile and care for me.


J. Fillman



The Pillbox Hat   by Jim Fillman

Upon entering

she blessed the web of mesh that mysteriously

shaded her blue eyes

and their  hint of glamour.


The simple, round hat,

a crown in her styled hair,

ecclesiastically perched

as if for blessings.


One hat, black, had a lacey knot

that dangled along the side of her face;

a half-veil  fell from its lip, perhaps

to protect Father

from her inadvertent glance?


She gently touched the little knot

with her white-gloved hand,

and the priest placed a clean, white wafer

on her slightly outreached tongue


I Am Not My Diagnosis

By Rosco Cole

My name is Rosco, and although I live with mental and physical challenges, I have chosen to rise above my conditions. I choose who I want to be. here are some things I do. Maybe they can help you also.

Don’t have a pity party (Oh! Poor me): I don’t talk much about my difficulties.

Turn the frown upside down, and let it go around: I try to look at myself as a positive person.

Don’t put yourself down (BE Happy again!): I know if I talk negatively about myself, I’ll start to believe what I think.

Be who you are: Understand, accept and believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter what other s think.

Don’t put restrictions on yourself: Stand outside of the box.

Educate others: Participate in the conversation, and share information about mental illness.

Through my example, people will learn that I am just another person in their universe. I won’t let my disabilities get in the way of our friendship. I am a good, kind and understanding person. I am a helpful person – it makes my day to make your day. Finally, it’s nice to be important, but it is more important ot be nice.

A Child’s Memorable Evening

By, Patricia Leibenguth

Dinner is over at the parsonage

and Grandma is in the kitchen,

Grandpa is in the study

reviewing his sermon for tomorrow.

I am lying on my tummy

on the living room floor

busy with coloring book and crayons.

Time passes.

A squeak from Grandpa’s chair,

the click of the switch

of the lamp on the big oaken desk,

darkens the study as

he steps into the living room.

He stops by me, admires my work.

His praise brings a good feeling.

He goes to the kitchen.

I am content.

I hear their laughter from the kitchen.

My grandparents are happy and smiling

as they come into the living room.

Grandpa turns on the radio,

Grandma sits down to crochet.

Grandpa sits down to read.

I am happy.

The music stops, a station break.

The announcer gives the names of

programs to follow.

They rise, put down the crocheting and the

book to step into the dining room.

Grandma takes the wood framed, glass tray

from the top of the tea wagon to

place it on the dining table,

while Grandpa raises the two drop leaves.

The Chinese Checkers Board is

placed there and they play

as we listen to Abie’s Irish Rose,

Molly Goldberg and Amos and Andy.

They laugh heartily enjoying the


I am happy, I like the sound of their


I don’t fully understand it all, but laugh too.

I am only six and I am happy too.

Their favorite programs are over.

The radio is turned off.

They put the checker board away,

return the glass tray to the tea wagon

and put down the leaves, then turn

off the light.

They call to me, “Time for bed, Patricia.”

Grandpa turns out the light in the living

room and turns on the stairway light.

Up the oaken stairs we go

to prepare for bed and

together say our prayers.

After we said our prayers Grandpa

turned on the radio in their room.

I could hear it too.

Beautiful music for a lullaby.

I fall asleep in the room and bed

where I was born.

I am happy,

I am content,

I am loved.


Spring, As Always

Here, as always, like a vow made and kept,

it tunnels through the rags of leaves and

bundles of snow, a long dank trail

to the first sweet sniffle of grass

and a season of fireworks exploding

before our dimmed, bedazzled eyes.

Welcome to the lawn mower, the heaps of mulch

neighbors haul in, the baby dandelions

with their round smiles, and a spit of chickadee

jumping up and down on her quivering twig.

Yes! And yes again to this precious earth

and all that greens and blossoms

and all that dies so that other are born

and for the generosity that keeps its word

like an ancient reliable voice that every

human ear has heard and believes.

Barbara Esch Shisler


A poem by Forgotten Voices member, Steve Pollack:

To People Who Don’t Like Poetry


You may plainly say:

“I do not like poetry.”

Once took a college course

but, “Just don’t get it!”

You may be inclined to chime,

the least of all, “It was nice.”


I should say nothing,

best to bite my tongue, utter

colorless words: “Okay,

not for everyone.”

Something else I could express

follow up without restraint:


Poems are conversations.

Word pictures for the ear.


Witty syllables

insightful observations

by human voices

laughing at reality

questioning every blemish.


A river flowing

chosen words in conscious stream,

harmony rushing

over rocks. Thoughtful bubbles

reservoir of deep stillness.


Language of bodies

acrobats of emotion

a present moment,

of longing, remembering

and reaching out to touch stars.


Will you join the dialogue?


Steve Pollack

January 2015


In memory of long-time Forgotten Voices member and poet, George Offutt:

george-offuttBy George where could U B C/ing the

Sounds that sometimes seem inaudible

But with aid I can hear better

See the nature in all things through

his eyes made the examples come

Alive in our inner parts of his mind

Taking me home one afternoon was

Such a thrill–2 B 1on1 with a

Person that has such a grasp of

Nature Nature ly I will miss

his outlook on life & the things

That he heard and instilled in me

By Rosco Cole