Cynthia Good has been using her unique voice for decades, first as a well-known news anchor, then as an entrepreneur, and now as a poet.
Many Atlantans will remember Good as one of the faces of Fox 5 Atlanta’s news anchor team. In the late ’90s, she pivoted and launched Atlanta Woman magazine, and then in the early aughts as the founder of Little PINK Book for women in business.
Now, she’s released her first collection of poetry, “What We Do with Our Hands,” via Finishing Line Press. Good said the poems poured out after a five-week period where her 27-year marriage disentegrated, she was kicked out of her home, and her mother died.
The confessional poems are both eloquent and heartbreaking in their directness and observation of a life at a crossroads.
“The structures I had relied on began to crumble,” Good said. “I had this long marriage, was living in Buckhead, and thought I was living the dream. No one knew what was going on, but I felt like I was losing it.”
Good said her grappling with life and death issues led her back to an outlet she hadn’t tapped in many years.
She started writing poems around age 9, but never considered herself a poet. That began to change when Good took a poetry workshop with award-winning poet Memye Curtis Tucker at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.
She went on to get an MFA in poetry from New York University and worked with noted local poet Travis Denton to shape her debut collection. Most of the poems in the collection previously appeared in literary journals.
Good said she’s “not trying to change the world or sell books,” but hopes that her poetry will resonate with others facing similar life-altering circumstances.
Good says she’s also found new freedom in writing poetry. “I’m being more honest and genuine and writing whatever I want to write without self-censoring.”
The poetry of Sylvia Plath, Toi Derricotte and Gwendolyn Brooks informed much of Good’s understanding of poetry, but she’s also become enamored with more contemporary poets like Ocean Vuong and Ada Limon.
While promoting “What We Do with Our Hands,” Good is also shopping a full-length collection and a second chapbook to publishers. And doing a lot of writing.
“I’ve got notes for new poems everywhere,” she said.
What We Do with Our Hands
He invites me in, his feet bare on the cold
tile. In a Saturday fog, we sit across a table.
He is a forest at midnight, birdwings, the cry
before an avalanche, pull of the moon. He is
wind, the silence of space, the thirst of cactus,
hunger of wildfire. He moves to my side,
his leg pressing mine. My awkward arm
around his shoulder. Words stay in the lines
on his face, welled up, sunken, an Aitken crater.
When morning purples the low mountains
from grey clouds in a swath, it’s like that moment
before a storm, the sky hovering like a truce.
You can order a copy of Good’s collection here.