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  • Tara Crutchfield

The Lost Words of a Trying Poet

My editor sat in a bar across from a new friend a year ago. When she asked about his hobbies, he rattled off a few and added, “...and I write poetry.” That comment sparked a ‘secret poet’ monthly feature in the magazine. Each month since, this private poet has submitted work to be published in the magazine. We’ve heard guesses that this poet was someone on our staff, a local business owner, or a community leader. Haven Magazine’s secret poet, who goes by The Lost Words of a Trying Poet on Instagram, is none other than Austin Tharp.

Tharp was born and raised in Winter Haven. The 25-year-old is a financial advisor, co-owner, and Vice President at Aventail Wealth Management. When he isn’t working, the VP likes to travel, read, cook, do CrossFit… and write poetry.


“Someone gave me my first poetry book two years ago,” Tharp said. The book was Charles Bukowski’s “Love is a Dog from Hell.” He’s since read about six of Bukowski’s poetry collections. “I like his writing because he really does put it all out there on paper. He doesn’t hold back. He says what he has to say. He says what needs to be said. The world isn’t all sunshine and roses, and he addresses that. I try to stay in line with realism when I write because I feel like being real with yourself can be the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Inspired, Tharp began writing poetry about a year and a half ago.

After the conversation with Haven’s editor, Amy Sexson, he decided to create a social media platform for his writings. The name of his Instagram account and what he signs his Haven poems with, The Lost Words of a Trying Poet, is an ode to his year-long anonymity. “These poems I write just come from a nobody, a starving poet, a poet that is just starting. And these are my lost words, the lost words of the nobody poet, the words that I would never have thought to be put out there in public,” he said.

“I first suggested he do something like Orange Blossom Poems […], but he was not interested,” said Sexson.

“You wanted me to wear a bow-tie, and I said, ‘I don’t know…,’” Tharp laughed. “I guess it’s not my style to be ‘out there.’ I write for fun. Every now and then – it’s very rare – I write one for someone, like a friend.”

Tharp discussed fellow poet and the beautiful mind behind Orange Blossom Poems (and regular poet in our LKLD Magazine), Dr. Diana Álvarez-Hughes, saying, “I don’t know if I could do what she does because she does a very good job, right there on the spot.” Tharp lauded her ability to see the joy or pain in others’ lives and commit it to paper.


So, how does the Trying Poet get inspired? “Alcohol,” he laughed. “A lot of it is [written] under the influence.”

Jokes aside, many of his ideas come to him as he lays in bed. “Something will hit me, and you can’t turn it off. You have to put it on paper, or you’ll forget it,” he said. Tharp keeps notes in his phone and a big red notebook full of poetry.

As a single guy and self-described ‘hopeless romantic,’ Tharp writes from his experiences. His themes cover “the ups and downs of the dating world [and] the journey of finding your forever person.”

“At my age, there is a lot of pressure on you. ‘Are you dating anyone yet? When are you going to get married? How are you single? Do you want a family?’ I hear it constantly. I feel like I use some of my writing as an outlet for some of that stuff,” he said.

Love isn’t the Trying Poet’s only muse. “Some of it represents just everyday life – how hard it can be on you even if you are the strongest one in the room. It doesn’t matter who you are – even kings have bad days. Some of the poems help remind me to stand tall no matter what. We honestly live in a world that tries to bring you down every day. It can be a close friend, your job, or even a stranger. But in the end, I tell myself to ‘stand up, smile, and don’t stop.’”

Of all the poems he’s written, Tharp cited “Behind Every Smile” as one of his darlings:

It breaks you

The fights

The battles

Little by little

Piece by piece

The brick starts to crumble

The glass starts to crack

And that’s okay

Let it take you

But not completely

Hold on to what you can

There will always be a give and a take

For after the battles

The fights

When the dust settles

You will survive

You will see another day

After the scars heal

A part of you will make it

But of which part?

For that is for you to figure out

We are not created to quit or give up

It’s an instinct

We all have it

Near the end of every battle you may face

You will feel the thing that keeps you going

It’s that instinct

It will keep you alive for many struggles

For we all face many battles and challenges every day

There is something that makes us all one and the same

And it’s the intuition to survive

To keep going

To push past the cruelness that this world may produce

I wish I could help you with your battles

But I have my own

May not be as big as yours

But we will push through

We all must

For there are better days to come and to see

Sunrises to catch

And new air to breathe

He revealed that this poem “hides a secret battle. […] It talks about the constant battles people face every day. The battles you can’t see. But in that poem, I explain that after every battle leaves a scar behind, a scar that reminds you that you’ve faced a lot in life, but in the end, you will get through it and become stronger after every fight.”


Though he didn’t show anyone when he first started writing, Tharp’s end goal was to pen a poetry book. He’s been working on this project over the last year. “I’ll have two poems on my phone, three in my book, and I have to transfer them all onto this one long Word [document] that I have,” he said.

When we spoke, Tharp was at 65 poems and counting with a goal of 100. “I already have an idea of how it’s going to look. I think I have a title in mind,” he said, adding that he hopes to selfpublish in the next few months. “I’m not making millions from it. It’s one thing I want to do for myself because I said I was going to do it.”

To other shy poets just starting to dip their toes in the water, or put pen to paper rather, Tharp encouraged, “Write, write, and write some more.” He also suggested being selective with whom you choose to share your writing. “Not everyone will understand it and automatically shoot down every poem you tell them. I recommend an open-minded person. Or maybe a stranger at a bar. One motto that I follow is from the great Hemingway himself, ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ That has really helped me. After that sentence, the rest will follow.”

The Lost Words of a Trying Poet

IG @thetrying_poet

Photography by Amy Sexson


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