Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets.

Ira Goga

Ira Goga received a BA in biochemistry from Smith College. They are an antibodies researcher in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Goga is the winner of the 2020 Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award for their poem "The Kitchen, Indexed." About the poem, judge Forrest Gander says:

“The description of a personality might begin with a list of objects the person keeps. Who would have a no-kill mousetrap and a stone with a crystal in its hollow? But in this poem, the list of delineated objects yields to the stated intentions of the maker of the list, whose identity is not as circumscribed as the objects, and who must, in fact, go through the trouble of renaming themselves. The sharp enjambments and line breaks, and the pared-down syntax add to the psychological tension of trying to nail something down, even the smallest truth.”


By This Poet


The Kitchen, Indexed

A glass knife. A candle. Chamomile.
A handsaw. A hand towel.
A sharps container. Stones
that may or may not be hollow,
holding crystals. Ceramic tributes
to the moon. A no-kill mousetrap.
Carnations. Carnal studies. Blue thread,
to make stitches. Matches, to be struck.
I wanted to understand form,
the beginning of things. I deconstructed.
I stopped a clock, pulled its hands
from its hard face. I undressed
beneath the incandescent overhead.
I couldn’t name myself, but I renamed myself.
In a bowl, strawberries thawed
in their own wet red. I couldn’t think
too hard, which worried me. Because
there was no answer I wanted. To be a man
to be a tree / or something less / like a plank. 
What I saw, I pinned down. I listed
what I knew to be true. Road salt
in an open dish. An hourglass full
of pink sand. A ruler. Assuming what I saw
was honest. The name? It means watchful
(later I found, in Latin, wrath. Oops).
It is my duty, dear reader, to never look away.