Momentary Honesty and Poetry

by Tirzah Goodwin

Often, people will ask what inspires me to write poetry. I think they ask because, to most ordinary people, writing poetry is right up there with being a professional juggler or knitting sweaters out of cat hair.  I’m a horrid juggler and let’s not talk about my failed knitting projects.  A girl has some pride.

Poetry inspires me because the root of it is honesty. People don’t start writing poetry because they love a good rhyme scheme or because paragraphs were too limiting; they write poetry because something in them needs a voice.  When you read someone’s poem, you’re reading their truth.

And that’s a heady feeling, to be that intimate with another person’s emotions. I write when my mind is too full of an event or an idea. I have to get it out of me, even if it’s through some sort of psychic surgery where the words pour out so I can breathe again.

One of my favorite poems that I’ve written is a poem called “Am I Pretty?”. When I was about nine, my dad gave me this horrid little gold heart with a clock inside. I wore this monstrosity everywhere because it made me feel special.  As the youngest of eight kids and a girl, I rarely felt that way.

But then the chain broke and I couldn’t wear it anymore. My dad didn’t notice. When I told him how sorry I was about breaking it, he didn’t even remember giving it to me. I was crushed. Some part of me always wanted to ask him if he loved me, if he saw me, if I was special, but the other part was afraid the answer would be no. So I never asked.

In my poem, I tell him how that ugly gold piece of junk made me feel pretty. I ask him if he really did see me, if he really did think I was special. I then tied that idea back to my current life where I’m still invisible, where I’m unnoticed.

As you can imagine, this is a very personal poem to me. Not all poems are this confessional but all poems have truth, all poems have a kernel of momentary honesty even if the poet changes her mind the next day.

I say momentary honesty because not all poems are serious, not all poems are your truth forever.  I have one where I do a tongue-in- cheek poem on my fantasy of doing in my mother.  I wrote others about the environment, politics, and one on whether Santa is a perv.
Poetry can have a lighthearted approach; it can be sexy, sad, serious, it is the distillation of the poet. You get her essence, whatever that is. So give poetry a chance, find your flavor of poet. I’m a mango-raspberry twist myself and I’m not for everyone.  Now I’ve got to get back to work knitting this sweater.


Tirzah Goodwin was kind enough to let me share a couple of her poems with you!


A little more about today’s guest:

My name is Tirzah L. Goodwin and I have always been a poet and a fiction writer.  In 2008, I finally had some of my poetry and one of my flash fiction pieces published in Red Pulp Underground I’ve also had poems printed in  Zygote Abstract, and the Dry Tear Poetry Anthology.

I have a BA in English from Morehead State University. I’m happily single and trapped in Kentucky with my two very understanding dogs. My poetry book, Love and Lighter Fluid: poems of a wild tirzah, is now available on Amazon and my website.


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25 Responses to Momentary Honesty and Poetry

  1. ANN ELLE ALTMAN says:

    I love your poetry, Tirz, you know I do. Glad your book gets the spotlight it deserves.


  2. Jeni says:

    I purchased this lovely book of poetry and can’t say enough about it. The best thing is its diversity. Every poem seems different from the next. Her voice is loud, refined, honest, quirky…there aren’t enough adjectives to describe it.

    Highly recommend!

    Jeni 😉

  3. Joy says:

    Hi, Tirz,

    I like the idea that poetry conveys a little bit of who the writer is. I’ve only dabbled a little bit myself, but yes, I do see how it’s a means of expression. I like the second poem a lot. Indeed, there’s a lot more to most of us than meets the eye.

  4. Tirzah says:

    Hah Corra, my next project is a werewolf short story collection. I’m probably two years away from another poetry book.

  5. I have to agree with another commenter: I’m partial to ‘Bluebells.’

    Great to see you burning up the presses with your poetry, Tirz! Your writing is strikingly honest and really beautiful. Can’t wait to see you publish poetry book #2. 🙂

    – Corra

  6. All these kind comments will make me conceited. HOwever, I love that you guys are enjoying my poems. Tirz

  7. EMurphy says:

    Good job!!!!! Those are great poems. I am very impressed

  8. And I just bought my copy of the book…


  9. Wow – I loved the poems – so great and your intro was really powerful. You are not invisible to me and I’m so glad we got stuck in comedy class together!

  10. Dwight Okita says:

    Tirzah, I enjoyed your poems. They have bite. And having read some of your work on, it’s nice to finally put a face to a name.

  11. Vern says:

    Hi, Tirz,you are like a slice of orange with sugar – and maybe a few nuts sprinkled here and there. To me, those are things which don’t go together, sugar and orange, that is, but that’s the way I see you; a mish mash of exotic thoughts which you wouldn’t think fit, but they work just fine, thank you. Very nice.

  12. Nadine Gallo says:

    Nothing more important in poetry than honesty and a great sense of humor, so you’re a winner.

  13. Dill Carver says:

    “Crushed velvet shadows.” Stirring and inspirational poetry! A wonderful experience; an exceptional poet who can astonish entertain and move the reader with her unique blend of articulate wit and honest emotion.

  14. Pam says:

    Love the book and your insite on honesty/poetry. You are a treasure!

  15. Myra Lewis says:

    Thanks for sharing this with me. I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to more. Myra

  16. Thank you guys so much for your kind comments. I appreciate it so much.


  17. Isabel says:

    Bury me is so life affirming even if it is talking about being buried. I picture a woman who looks forward to letting her hair down and just being natural and finally who she really is rather than what people expect her to be. I love it.

  18. Cat says:

    I have the book and love it. I’m partial to ‘Bluebells’ but ‘To K. with Apologies’ is fabulous, oh and ‘Listen’ and ‘Apple’… Congrats, Tirz!

  19. Doralynn says:

    Hello Trapped in Kentucky, congratulations on your book! And your understanding dogs! Doralynn

  20. Sybil Nelson says:

    Beautiful poetry, Tirz. Great work. I’m off to go buy your book right now!

  21. Kentucky Kelley says:

    Love you! I think everyone, including myself, can relate to the “You don’t know me” poem.

  22. deb says:

    Your words touched me and inspired me. You reminded me that at times we feel isolated but by sharing, we realize we are not alone.

  23. Jim says:

    Nice work! I eat with plastic spoons, too

  24. I’m busy linking it out to all my sites now.

  25. Thank you so much for having me, Lisa.

    I appreciate it.

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