Thursday, October 17, 2019

Happy Nomination, Sweet Sixteen

My newly birthed book, Spreading Like Wild Flowers ( PURCHASE IT HERE) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Big Table Publishing. It was nominated with these other fine people and books. Overall it's my sixteenth Pushcart nomination. A nomination, some might say, isn't a big deal.  In fact, John Fox says so. Well, I think it's an acknowledgment of all the work published by any given publisher, that out of everything they saw and reviewed this year, yours was one of their best. I still list it in bios (sorry John Fox), because, you know, sixteen nominations is good stuff. Thank you to Robin Stratton, Editor and CEO at Big Table. She's the absolute best!

Tina Barry for "Beautiful Raft"
Timothy Gager for "Spreading Like Wild Flowers"

Christopher Reilley for "One Night Stanzas"
Rob Dinsmoor for "Toxic Cookout"
Jon Sindell for "The Pugilist Poets of Venice."

Friday, October 11, 2019

Happy Publishing Day for my new book, Spreading Like Wild Flowers----How to purchase

You can buy, Spreading Like Wild Flowers
using the suggestions below, but you can also buy any of the books below

Every Day There is Something About Elephants

Chief Jay Strongbow is Real,

Grand Slams: A Coming of Eggs Story

The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan 

or any of my books 

                                              the exact same way 

1. Through me, Paypal, ( $15.00   on my website (paypal)

You make out with no shipping, I don't charge any.
Author makes out from you buying direct.
Paypal takes some of the money, unless you use the gift button.

2. Though me, Credit Card, $15.00

You make out with no shipping, I don't charge any.
Author makes out from you buying direct.
Paypal takes some of the money, because this option is through them

Contact me with your credit card numbers (sounds a little sketchy, I know. Sorry).

3. Though me, Check, $15.00 (google the word check if this confuses you)

You make out with no shipping, I don't charge any.
Author 's best option.

Contact me for my mailing address.

4.  Through your favorite Indy Bookstore $15.00 + brief wait

You make out by getting the book. Ask store to order with  ISBN-13:  978-1945917363 
For other books Amazon page has the number
Author  makes out by  very small royalty.

5.  At Amazon $14.99 + shipping 

Kindle $7

You make out by getting the book.
Author  makes out by sales number increase on site and the very small royalty. Can you say a dime?'
If you buy from a outside seller listed on Amazon, author gets ZERO

6.  Though Barnes and Noble,  website $15 + shipping, store $15

You make out by getting the book.
You pay a penny more
Ask store to order by ISBN number   ISBN-13:978-1945917363
Author  makes out by sales number increase on site and the very small royalty.

7.  By coming to a reading or appearance. If you don't,  I'm sure I'll have some hanging around, if you bump into me. The trunk of my car. My closet. At work.

You make out by getting the book, saying hello, and hearing an entertaining read. I'll get to thank you. I'll even sign it..
Author  makes out by you buying direct, getting to say hello to you, and receiving all my gratitude--and no shipping cost for me.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Upcoming Readings 2019-2020

With Spreading Like Wild Flowers due out in late October, here is my line-up for appearances---more to be announced. 


Sat., October 12, 2019 Turners Falls, MA

Great Falls Word Festival, 4:00 PM

Upstairs Shea Theater
71 Avenue A
Turners Falls , Ma

Featured poet reading with Tom Timmons, Terry S. Johnson
Jon Wesick and TBA

Book Release Party
Sat., November 9, 2019 Somerville, MA

Center for the Arts at the Armory, 4:30 PM

191 Highland Ave
Somerville , Ma

Book release for Spreading Like Wild Flowers, with Special Guests

Fri., December 6, 2019 Dorchester, MA

Unearthed Song & Poetry, 7:00 PM sign up, 7:30 show

Home.stead Bakery and Cafe
1448 Dorchster ave,
Dorchester , Ma

Featured poet reading with featured musical act

Sun., December 22, 2019 New York, NY

Great Weather for Media Event, 4:00 PM

Parkside Lounge
317 E Houston St,
New York, NY

hosted by George Wallace

 Thur, January 23, 2020 Roslindale, Ma
 Rozzie Reads Poetry, 7:00 PM
 Roslindale House, Community Room
120 Poplar Street,
Roslindale, Ma.

Featuring with Pui Ying Wong

Sat., January 25, 2020 Boston, Ma

Boston Italian American Writers Association Event, 6:00 PM

I AM Books
189 North Street,
Boston, Ma.

Featuring with another Italian-American writer
hosted by Julia Lisella and Jennifer Colella Martelli.

Wed., March 25, 2020 Lynn, MA

Speak Up at the Walnut Street Cafe, 7:30 PM

Walnut Street Cafe
157 Walnut Street,
Lynn, Ma

Featuring at this wonderful series, with an open mic

Thursday, September 19, 2019

"Joe the Salamander," Semi-Finalist in 2019 Holland Prize

The winner of the first-ever Holland Prize for Fiction from Trnsfr Books has been announced!

Look for Rebecca Fishow's stellar debut story collection The Trouble with Language in 2020!

Finalists Dan Hoy and Mike Kleine's 
collaborative novel Where the Sky Meets the Ocean and the Air Tastes Like Metal and the Birds Don't Make A Sound will also be published in 2021!

Cheers to these incredible semi-finalists:
- Timothy Gager (for Joe the Salamander)

- Brooks Sterritt (for The History of America In My Lifetime)
- Christian TeBordo (for The Last Days of Science)
- Joan Wilking (for A Sign of the Times)

     I don't mind losing to the people on this list---Rebecca, Dan, and Mike get well earned books. I get to blog about not minding the results (bad joke. Too soon?) . Side note...on May 4, 2018 Rebecca and another of the Semi-Finalists, Joan Wilking all read in New York at KGB, F-Bomb Series. Joan and I drove down together from Massachusetts  and had the BEST time. Lot's of laugh and really bad food at 2 AM on the way home---all was open was a KFC and all they had was "Big Bowls." The  food was the actual punch-line.  Somewhere, May 5, 2018, on Route 95 North....chicken, mashed, corn in a bowl ended up in my trunk.

Joan Wilking, May 2018, KGB, NYC
Rebecca Fishow, May 2018, KGB, NYC


Joe The Salamander (69000 words) follows Joe, a quirky man, mostly, from birth through age eighteen. Joe, a born people-pleaser, only chooses to say the word, "Yes," to everyone, except his mother, Mille, who he has unconditional trust with. The other woman in his life, Laura, his nurse on-duty at the time of his birth, becomes a life-long friend of his and his family.

Joe, overwhelmed by loud or extreme stimuli gets through life by wearing various costumes but loves Superman in his various television/movie forms. As he gets older, he finds comfort by wearing a Superman costume under his regular clothing. It is only after his parents die tragically on 9/11 that Joe stops feeling safe through the Superman strategy, because even Superman couldn't prevent such a catastrophe.
Throughout the novel, Joe's inability to successfully interpret life's sights and sounds, combined with his singular word language use, causes him to be placed in situations which work out in ways, not intended. His mother tries to increase Joe's independence so he could eventually survive on his own, but after her death, Joe is left to figure things out on his own.  
 As he hits his mid-thirties, and entirely by desperation, he goes to the local costume shop to buy the bigger, and better Superman costume he had seen to help him to re-enter society using an old coping mechanism.
            Joe The Salamander, takes a sensitive, and human look at what it is like the stimulus of the world are challenging, and also how misunderstood and beloved people are within the spectrum

Saturday, September 14, 2019

THIS is the cover for soon to be released, "Spreading Like Wild Flowers"

     Finally here is the front and back cover of "Spreading Like Wild Flowers." I expect the book to be out in November, which is just in time for my readings in Dorchester and New York.  

     This replaced the less dramatic blue one. It had the wild flowered photo, but the light blow wasn't very "strong."

     Originally I prematurely announced the cover this pale green one, with the old, less wild flowered picture. It appeared on my website until today.

     The very first model was the one I made myself....which is very rough, but it gave my publisher an idea of what I was thinking. Here it is below.  Well, I hope you had fun---because I sure went crazy.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Table of Contents for soon to be released, "Spreading Like Wild Flowers."

Table of Contents
This Poem is Like a Bruise
In the dark corner of a Theater
Bromley’s Funeral Home
The Last Time I Saw You
The heart is a broken little Thing
Finding the Beauty
Impairment and Loss
College Dining Hall
The Miracles of Recovery
A Certain Warrior
When I find you in an Old Diary
I Remember
Tossing the Murder Weapon
Fear, God Bless My Soul
Day One: The Day After
Bringing a Monkey To Work
Still There Are Boxes
The Truth About Pastels
Historic Night of July 4, 2019
Debate about Guns, Trucks, and Timothy McVeigh
Centralia, Pennsylvania
Red Barn
A Night Before Christmas
At a Cookout for Poets
Brookline Village, Through a High Arch
How to Unring a Bell
All Tied Up

Thanks to Ibbetson Street 45, Live Nude Poems, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nixes Mate Review, Northern New England Review, The Long Islander Newspaper, Right Hand Pointing, Muddy River Poetry Review, and The Citron Review for the original publication of the poems that appear in Spreading Like Wild Flowers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Coming soon, "Spreading Like Wild Flowers," a new book of poetry, but for now, the Introduction.

Elm St., Somerville, Ma., photograph by Timothy Gager
     Coming soon, meaning, hopefully before the end of 2019, a book of thirty-three new poems, Spreading Like Wild Flowers. I know that in the hating universe we are in now (see Twitter), that someone will say, isn't the phrase, "spreading like wild fire?" Yes, the phrase is that, exactly, so I can agree with you.

     Spreading Like Wild Flowers will by my fifteenth book, my seventh book of poetry.

  Joe the Salamander, my novel still seeking representation (synopsis halfway down the link). I would have loved to be making an announcement that the book, Joe the Salamander had found an agent, but somewhere in the middle of that long wait, I wrote a bunch of poems. So, I am very happy and pleased that Big Table Publishing  the publisher of my last four books will be taking Spreading Like Wild Flowers. I am also ecstatic for the wonderful introduction to the book, written by Doug Holder of Ibbetson Street Press and Endicott College. Read his  introduction now, and keep your eyes out for the upcoming book.
   It is a book book  not to be confused with


Timothy Gager and I have seen a lot over the years in the local literary world. We started the The Somerville News Writers Festival (2003 to 2010), he ran the Dire Literary Series for almost two decades, and he published many works of short fiction and poetry. There is a consistent current flowing through this man’s veins. That current keeps him writing, and expanding, both personally and professionally. No one can doubt his dedication to the craft; and what he has done for the literary community over the years.

I met Gager about twenty years ago. Back then he was a different man, a different poet, and a different writer. My small press “Ibbetson Street" published his first book of poetry, The Same Corner of the Bar. Now, twenty years later Gager is not in the same corner. On the front cover of his seminal book, one can see a hungover Gager--with a bottle of booze on his bed, and, beside him, a comely blonde in the midst of her drunken slumber. The older Gager I know now would be more likely looking through some nocturnal window--into the deep recesses of his own soul.

           During those earlier years, Gager was a well-oiled alcoholic (which he makes no bones about revealing), was not in touch with himself, and was distracted from his surroundings. His poetry had a raw, Bukowski-style punch-- with slivers of light around the edges. Gager, at that time was still fairly young-- in his mid-30s-- and was beginning his long road to recovery. The years have left an impact on his writing.

           It occurred to me when I was reading his poem in  Ibbetson Street 45,  "In the Dark Corner of a Theatre" (which also appears in this collection), how nuanced and sensitive the piece is:

                                        Our hands touched, craved
                                        completeness of fingers
                                        intertwined, growing

                                        limb-like vines,
                                        shielding old cracks
                                        of a brick wall.

                                        In April, the climbers
                                        stay sparse--may, we
                                        forbid nature a minute longer?

                                        May we be offered blooms of ivy?
                                        so tender the cover,
                                        so gentle it grows.

Here, Gager uses intertwined hands as a balm, and embeds them in the tangle of nature.

           In his new collection Spreading like Wild Flowers, Gager stripped down the poems to their essence. His ears attuned to nature-- the way a bird chirps metaphors on a rainy day, a feral cat screeches in the dead of night--Gager knows not to ignore it.

           In his poem "At a Cookout for Poets" he uses metaphor expertly with his contemplation of death--and his feelings about his mother’s illness.

Inside, I imagine my mother’s kidney,
is like the old clove of garlic
in the host’s refrigerator—
The tumor growing like its root,

pretending, to play polite here,
not to be intrusive, I will ask
God to take care of all
that is rotten.

Gager is a poet engaged—with the world, his interiority, and he shares his insights with us.

-Doug Holder/Ibbetson Street Press, Lecturer in Creative Writing/Endicott College


Thursday, July 11, 2019

In Appreciation of author Jim Bouton

Jim Bouton was a pitcher, a World Series hero, an inventor, and businessman (inventor of Big League Chew), a television sportswriter, an actor, a script writer, and the author of one of the most groundbreaking baseball books of all-time.

     Jim Bouton died yesterday.

     When I was twelve I found nestled in my parents bookcase, alongside of Joseph Heller, John Updike, William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates, and most of the Heratio Hornblower series, a copy of Ball Four by Jim Bouton.
     Ball Four is known as the first "tell-all" book and baseball. It blew the doors off iconic, idolized players, and the idealism of the sport itself. It did so in a hilarious and honest way, and it was a book which celebrated everything I was, or would become interested in---baseball, partying, practical jokes, with the stories of being on the road, and of sex, drugs, and alcohol. For more info on Ball Four, please see the Youtube video posted below, with Jim, by ESPN.

    Because of this, baseball ostracized Bouton, making him a "social leper," causing  the Commissioner of  Baseball, Bowie Kuhn to meet with him, asking him retract publicly the content of the entire book as pure fiction. A former NY Yankee, Bouton told the truth about Hall of Famers, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Whitey Ford, revealing them as being hung over for games, and chasing women. Baseball couldn't handle the truth, as it was in the hero producing business, where  each locker rooms had a posted sign which read, "Whatever you see here, whatever you say here, let it stay here." Bouton went up against the establishment, called B.S., wherever he saw it, and was also viewed as a hippie, and a commie by many in baseball because of his liberal take against the Vietnam War and political hypocrisy.

     Bouton wrote Ball Four in 1969, in diary form, recounting the 1969 season he spent with the Seattle Pilots, and Houston Astros. The Pilots were a Major League Baseball team which lasted only one year, 1969, and in 1970, became the Milwaukee Brewers. During that year, he carried a small notebook in the back pocket of his uniform to jot down anecdotes as they came up. He also would write on napkins, popcorn boxes, and anything he could get his hands on if need be. He never told teammates what he was up to, but word managed to leak out.  Pete Rose would yell, "Fuck you, Shakespeare," to Bouton whenever he would pitch, to which Bouton would later relish Pete Rose actually making a literary reference.

     The humor, content, and structure of Ball Four, made it one of my most influential and favorite books, and Jim was one of my writing heroes. It was a book that at one time, I would read every summer during baseball season. My own book, The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, was originally titled The Diary of an Unethical Psychologist, although mine was fiction, it used, before revision, the same structure, and tone as Ball Four. 

     Through the years I've had various encounters with Jim. His e-mail always made me smile, noting his Seattle uniform number. When Foul Ball was released in 2003, another Bouton diary, about the planned demolition of Wahconah Park, one of the oldest ballparks in the United States, and scheduled to be replaced with a new stadium paid for with public money, Bouton again went after the establishment, and formed a group to renovate Wahconah, complete with local food courts ("The Taste of the Berkshires"), and luxury boxes at no cost to taxpayers. As of July 2019, neither of these plans were followed through by the town of Pittsfield and Wahconah, still decaying,  is still standing.

      About that time, I attempted to get him to be the main feature at The Somerville News Writers Festival. He had the drawing power, and entertainment ability which would have been a perfect fit. The date didn't fit his schedule and he politely declined, writing that I was doing a good thing for writers, and how books were very important to him in his travels as a baseball player and businessman, but, he noted, that it was another reason for some of his less read teammates to poke fun at him. When he did come to Boston for a reading that summer, I took the day off and saw him at the Downtown Crossing Barnes and Noble. After the reading, as I approached with my usual, "Hi, I'm Tim Gager," he stopped me and said, "Ah, we've e-mailed," then he signed my copy of Foul Ball, and my copy of Ball Four (with 'smoke 'em inside, the phrase Seattle pitching coach Sal Maglie used as the tactic to pitch to every single hitter in baseball.") In Foul Ball in wrote, "Watch out for Bulldozers," a reminder from Foul Ball, that gentrifying towns, and renovating areas wasn't always what it appeared to be, it was always a case of following the bulldozers to the money.

     Last  December, my son, upon my request, gave me a Seattle pilots Bouton jersey for  Christmas, and I attempted to visit Bouton, where in lives in Great Barrington, Ma.,interview him, and have the jersey signed. I found out he had had a serious stroke a few years back, was suffering from dementia. He was not doing well. Fifty years after the season of the Seattle Pilots, and  one day after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, James Allan Bouton passed away.