Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lyrical Somerville re-prints my blog post along with the titular poem from "The Shutting Door"

Although I sent it correctly, the stanza breaks appear incorrectly in print and on their site. More and more, I'm finding journals not going to the poet to check the proof for approval; without considering that line-breaks, lengths and stanzas are important. Because I line is long and doesn't fit in the journal DO NOT BREAK THE POEM LINE TO FIT IT IN! I've had poems with extra single word or two word lines in it that doesn't make sense, which makes it look like that was my intention. I've written about when journals screw up last November and to me it's loose and sloppy work.

Here is the article, memoir and poem from The Somerville News. Currently, in their print edition it is published as a block poem which was not my intention. My intention was this:

The Shutting Door

We are solid oak doors that shut
on our past, close on dead mothers,
sons, daughters. These doors swell
often, won’t open. One midnight

we walked towards woods, the moss
cold under our toes, as we were,
caught in the light for a moment;
a glimpse of half full. We are dim

lights on dark nights, sending out calls
to the wolves howling at the sun
because the moon hanging there,
yet never seems to hear them.

If I should need to step back to see
how you glow in this light,
illumination, I can be at one with that,
us, growing like violets in the dark.

Now about the memoir section. It's kind of scary to see it in print but I asked people important to me in my recovery, what I should do about having my story, one I never flinch to tell in a basement, in print for the world to see.  They told me if I was comfortable with myself and with whom I pray to that there shouldn't be a problem. So here it is, today in The Somerville News. If there's any repercussions, I'll write about then.

Also, I get to list this under published poems as well as non-fiction/essays on my website!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nominated for Story South Million Writers Award

Editors of Unshod Quills, Dena Rash Guzman and Wendy Ellis have nominated my story Some Things You Might Not Have Realized for the 2013 Million Writers Award (check somewhere on the page link). I am grateful and I thank them for this honor.

Side Note: T.I. is the "King of the South"

and this might be the best cover off all time

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ordering "The Shutting Door", Bookstores, Paypal, Lulu, Check, Amazon, Contest or Kindle $4.99-$11.00

1) The online Ibbetson Street Press Book Store now carries The Shutting Door, my new book of poetry. You can order through this link or 

2) You can order it through me by contacting me at (sending a check or paypal) for $11.(If you order through me, I'll waive the cost of shipping which may save you a few bucks.). Also you can come to a reading as there will always be copies available.

3) UPDATE 11/9/13:  Now available on Amazon.

4) UPDATE 1/12/14: Now a Kindle book. 

5) Also "LIKE" me and when I get 1,000 likes, you'll be part of a random drawing for a free book

6) Your favorite bookstore may have "The Shutting Door" in stock or you can special order " but you may wait a week. 


Timothy Gager is a genius of the quotidian, keenly observing the details of our lives and rendering them so that we can hear the deep pulse of our identities, of our pure being, within them. The Shutting Door is a ravishing, wonderful, enlightening book.
Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Author of 18 books.

“The Shutting Door” is the first full length book of poetry in nine years from the prolific writer Timothy Gager.  I read these poems, constantly sucked in, pulled beneath the surface by the accessible complexity, the swirling eddy’s of darkness, shockingly abrupt intercuttings of profane and sacred, surprised by the streaks of tenderness… and thought , who am I to write anything about  a poet who, like his wolves, howls at the sun because the moon has yet to hear, who is an acute observer of the way things completely breakdown. And then I realized that in many of these poems Tim has done something remarkable and worth shouting about: he has rescued irony from the terrible detachment of the hip and the surface slickness of the cool. Rooting irony in the power of attachment, in gut felt emotion, connection and immersion,  he has once again made it revelatory and  profound. There is much more to be found in this collection but for that alone , hats off and shouts of joy to Tim Gager.

Michael Ansara, co-founder Mass Poetry


 In The Shutting Door, Gager studies the crisp space between life's summation and the gathering of what harvest may wait for us as we work at a more genuine quality of being.  In a world of social media he shows himself brave and committed to truth, but not without humor.  This is a delightful new work from a poet who consistently shows that he believes in what connects us and makes us hu
Afaa M. Weaver, “The Government of Nature”and thirteen other books


Worldly, witty, and often satirical, these poems also have a tender side, a feeling of loss and longing, a sense of thwarted hopes and dreams. It is as if the poet has glimpsed something wondrous and maybe all-important just beyond a door that is closing. What did he see in there? Was it his beloved, or the remnants of love grown cold?  Was it the hem of God, or the remnants of a faith no longer held?  Was it a little bit of truth and beauty mixed together, or was it the death of either, or both? Questions on this order are at the heart of these poems, and the glimpses of the answers are real enough to help us keep going.

Fred Marchant, author of The Looking House
The Shutting Door is gritty, captivating book that immediately pull you in and doesn't let go. Tim Gager writes through the lens of a damaged angel, someone who has seen forgiveness from all sides. The result is wondrously eloquent, giving us these beautiful, dangerous, arresting poems about what it means to be human.  Gager’s poems “never stop trying to fly
January Gill O'Neil, author of Underlife, Executive Director of Mass Poetry Festival

"The Shutting Door" is unflinchingly honest and deeply personal, with a gentle sense of melancholy offset by the occasional touch of gallows humor. These poems shift effortlessly from meditations on nature, tales of love found and love lost, and astute observations on the human condition. Timothy Gager mines gems of truth from the plain soil of ordinary life.

Charles Coe, author of All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents

Friday, September 6, 2013

Football? Tim Tebow Biblical Wrath Fan Fiction? You bet.

I'm pleased and honored that American Short Fiction's editor Jess Stoner asked me to participate in their "Things American: NFL Preview " issue. Jess Stoner, a tortured Bills fan, assigned me the New England Patriots. My piece is described by Jess as "Tim Tebow Biblical Wrath Fan Fiction" It's the third one down under New England Patriots.

So I dialed up some Fantasy Football and wrote about the popular but worth little Tim Tebow, the genius of Bill Belichick (Merph) and the fiasco of Mark Sanchez.

My story is about this.

Also, is there anything more funny than this play? (Unless you're a Jet fan)

Read this ASF segment, NFL PREVIEW. It's a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Making of "The Shutting Door's" insides---How major life experiences influenced the poetry?

"The Shutting Door" is a book of poems drawn from my longer history to the new hope I've found. The Shutting Door goes through my journey and the poems included represent  new strength, recovery and hope. The Shutting Door is poetry about shutting the door of my past and moving on.

Just like "the making of the book cover" involves a blank canvas where you add the paint, the undertones, until the completed art; have it photographed and then finished with a graphics program, my personal story does nearly the same thing. I must note that I loved alcohol and I only wish that I was able to continue with that relationship but  it took me to dark places I never wanted to be. I hope you will check out the book of poetry which should be released in late September.


"A Seven Year Old Takes a First Drink"

My first encounter with alcohol wasn’t what you’d expect. It wasn’t a drink passing through my lips and suddenly I felt warm and wonderful. My first encounter was from television and I was seven years old.

It was 1969, and the Mets who never finished higher than ninth place in a ten team were in their first pennant race. When the Mets did the impossible and became World Champions (a lofty title I totally bought into as a seven year old) the chaos of a locker room champagne celebration was a powerful image. It was the kind of joy that I wanted.

Almost immediately, I imagined drinking with as much gusto as my heroes. The Ginger Ale in a bottle, in the refrigerator could be shaken pretty easily but the mess would get me in trouble.. Even as a seven year old, I knew exactly what alcohol was and I wanted it.

It was during one of my Ginger Ale trips to the refrigerator, I noticed the word alcohol on a bottle of Durkee’s Pure Vanilla Extract  in a secretive little bottle. I loved vanilla icing and combined with seeing that alluring word on the label made it an easy decision. I decided to have a sip, anticipating pure deliciousness but instead, I found it disgusting. The brown liquid hit my throat with fire and it felt like my air supply was being blocked from the fumes. It didn’t taste like sweet icing, which I expected but something more like a punishment than a dessert.

Yet, I wasn’t through with obsessing about alcohol. Seven years later, as a fourteen year old, I thought I had hit the lottery when I found a poorly hidden six-pack of Budweiser stashed in the woods on my way home from school. It was lazily covered with some leaves and I was excited the cans were completely intact. I knew that the person whom had stashed it was up to wrong doings because of the leafy cover up. I had no problem re-hiding the cache s and having a few drinks for the next few days. A few weeks later I was cutting classes to drink with friends during school and return for my later classes. One time I vomited on the way out of classroom at the end of the school day.

Still, I marched forwardIn fact, six years later, after daily drinking with some serious drug use, I was desperate enough to make my first call to a substance abuse/alcohol hot line. When no one picked up, I left a message which wasn’t returned immediately, so impatiently, I ran out to have a drink at a local bar and returned home, totally smashed to a roommate who said that my call had been returned from the hot line. Flustered and embarrassed, I sharply told him, it must have been a wrong number.

Twenty-six years later, I found myself on my hands and knees again. I had lost nearly everyone in my life, and had grown tired of the lack of control I had over alcohol. I had begun to black out while driving back from bars and clubs. I was ready to do whatever it took to stop and to change before I killed myself or someone else. It wasn’t easy at first, but it got easier each day I could get through. I began to look at drinking as neither a champagne celebration to avoid my life or a black hole to encompass it. I learned it was neither a punishment nor a dessert and I didn’t need to use it as either. All I had to do now was learn the simple task of how to live life.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The making of a book cover, The Shutting Door

* * *

For those of you interested in art and process, HERE'S THE PHOTO TIMELINE, starring the artist Teisha Twomey with special guest star, designer Steve Glines. It's on facebook, but it's public so anyone can have a look.

Below is the  the finished product and if you click on the pictures they get slightly larger. I'm thrilled with the blurbs from Robert Olen Butler, Michael Ansara, Afaa Michael Weaver, Charles Coe, January O'Neil and Fred Marchant.

For the poems themselves, 95% of them were written after Nov. 2010, which is an important date in my history. It represents poems of strength, recovery and hope.

Release of "The Shutting Door" late September 2013