Utah poet trades prose for cash, battling inflation with art

Mar 6, 2023, 7:43 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2023, 5:50 am

UTAH COUNTY, UtahTim Torkildson has a habit of tweeting at journalists, often about the news of the day. He’s garnered mentions from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, even KSL TV reporter Peter Rosen.

He started tweeting poetry at KSL TV’s Mike Anderson some months ago, and his recent plea for work caught his attention.

Torkildson has been crafting words into poetry for 20 to 30 years.

“It’s captivating, and it’s like a narcotic to me,” he said. “I’ve got to get my fix every day of writing something.”

(Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

Even writing KSL TV’s Mike Anderson an impromptu verse about pride in just under two minutes.

“I am humble. I am meek.

Lowly living I do seek.

So if you would care to pay

For this poem, I won’t say nay.”

And sometimes, the subjects that inspire also frighten.

“Well yeah, I mean inflation. Inflation is a terrifying word,” Torkildson said.

He and his wife, Amy, live mostly on Social Security. Her seasonal work — helping prepare taxes — will soon end, and the rising cost of just about everything has caught Torkildson’s attention.

“Now, it’s almost more expensive than meat to eat eggs, and that terrifies me.”

With the cost of nearly everything going up, he said they could use a bit of help.

“Prices at a restaurant stagger

Me as if struck down by a dagger.”

So, he’s started offering his services online — personalized poems for money. Torkildson is a retired circus clown, and it is his dream to make money again, doing something he loves. Though, he adds, if it doesn’t work out, it won’t break him.

(Mike Anderson/KSL TV) (Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

“We have enough and we’re grateful for it, very grateful indeed.”

Like many artists, Torkildson is a romantic. He and Amy divorced nearly 30 years ago.

“I was miserable that whole time that I was away from her,” he said. “I never stopped loving her.”

(Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

But in 2021, she took him back.

“No matter how hard times get, I’m always going to feel like the richest man on earth,” he said.

(Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

And with love and words, he said they’ll be just fine.

“Life doesn’t get any better than that.”

But Torkildson would still love it if somebody would take him up on his offer — $5 for a poem on the subject of your choice. You can find him on Twitter or reach him by email.

(Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

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Utah poet trades prose for cash, battling inflation with art