Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Most Popular Posts from this blog.

My Top 10 popular blog posts of 2017 are heavy in interviews, just as the Top 10 NBA plays of 2017 are heavy in dunks. Enjoy the video and check the list is below--click your favorite!


Who is Aneka Brunssen? ANEKA BRUNSSEN is a writer, poet and graduate student from Bremen, Germany, with a Bachelor of Arts in Engli...

REASON IT'S #10- Because everyone loves the hard working Aneka Brunssen and also everybody loves Bill Murray.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Buying the book is self-explanatory, but even if you don't buy there are some things you can do whether you know the writer or not. All...

REASON IT'S #9-Because I always say, when you do a book signing don't bring book marks or promo-pencils because then they'll take them won't buy the book. If you are THAT person then here are some cool things you can do to help an author without buying the author's book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
The Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that spans more than two miles from Boston to Chelsea over the Mystic Ri...

REASON IT'S #8-It's the year of a new poetry book and Right Hand Pointing puts out a brand new poem. Also RHP is a damn good journal.

Here is Chief Jay Strongbow---played by an Italian, Joey Scarpa, and racism brought to you by the WWF. Chief Jay for those keeping score ...

REASON IT'S #7-The real story behind Jay Strongbow not being real and Standing Rock HS Wrestler Delaney Lester being real- Real news is not Fake news.

Today my inteview on is up .   It is something they did with me right after "Chief Jay Strongbow is Real" came...

REASON IT'S #6- Because MassPoetry is awesome and the wrestler Chief Jay Strongbow is awesome and the interview was really good.

REASON IT'S #5-Just as Dire Series was celebrated it's 200th event, the possibility that this would be the final event was something that people were interested in. 

Brookline was known as the hamlet of Muddy River (a river which today makes up part of the Brookline-Boston border) and was considered a 

REASON IT'S #4-It's five poems! Yes. People like them (or perhaps the history of The Muddy River in Brookline is just too hard to resist?)

REASON IT'S #3--People want to read how Doug Holder is like Charlie Rose? (Creepy issues with Charlie's bath towel not known at the point of this writing.

______________________________________________________________________________ Future Series Appearances February 15, 2018 Cambridge, ...

REASON IT'S #2- People really want to see where I'm at for stalking or purposes or this tour was awesome --but not awesome enough to make my book a bestseller. 


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 Year of the Loudmouth, published work in review.

Loudmouth for our country=UGH!


For me, 2017 may seem like a lean year for published work from me, but I've done a lot of that in the past. Most importantly was getting out, reading from and touring the book "Chief Jay Strongbow is Real", a book which I felt so strongly about I could flip through it at readings and read whatever I wanted. The totals were: 
1 Book
1 work of Fiction
12 Poems
and more interviews than anyone should have, which is neither publishing nor writing.

1. Writers and Work, December 9

2. Mass Poetry, November 13 (where the heckis it on their site?)
3. Koncast, podcast interview, October 27
4. Paradox Review, October 18
5. SCTV , television interview, September 26
6. Boston Literary Magazine, February 4
7. Also there was a recording of a reading in New York City to listen to. 

So, there were five interviews--not at all bad, considering the Loudest most vile mouth of all is still allowed to speak, from the highest office in our country (and I don't regret saying anything in any interview). Hopefully 2018 will bring more wonderful things to read, less tweets from our President, unless he is no longer President and I hope he tweets millions of ass-hurt ones.


Chief Jay Strongbow is Real, July 2017, Big Table Publishing


"Joe the Salamander" May 31. 2017 The Coil 


"Whitewalls" (scroll to find it) 
October 31, 2017, Right Hand Pointing #116 

“Day One: The Day After”
“Red Barn”
“Bringing a Monkey to Work”
“The Truth About Pastels”
"Still there are Boxes"
October 17, 2017, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

"Prayer By a Stream"
"This, For The Bear"
August 3, 2017 Eternal Snow: A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty Five Poetic Intersections
with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma

"Chief Jay Strongbow Is Real"
June 7, 2017, Oddball Magazine 

"Counter Act"
April 1, 2017, Poetic Diversity 

"Loose Flowers"
"Throw Certainty Out in the Air like a Lasso"
February 1, 2017 Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

About my reading in Baltimore next Tuesday 12/12 and my best/worst practical joke.

From their website: The Writers & Words Series is a Baltimore reading series, created by local writers Michelle Junot and Michael B. Tager. The reading series features one fiction writer, one essayist or memoirist, one poet, and a “wild card” each month. As part of the reading series, writers & words compiles and produces a zine of the featured readers’ work. Dave Ring will be the lucky "Wildcard" choice.  

So there's a zine and there's also interviews by Maria Goodman posted with the features before the event. Mine went up today....just in time for my "quest in" to Baltimore.  All I can say is that I love Baltimore and have been treated right there, from The Baltimore Festival of the Book, where I sold 300 copies of "Twenty-Six Pack" , to the 510 Reading Series at the Minas Gallery, June 2010, where I read from "Treating A Sick Animal"(currently ranked in the Top 11 Million on Amazon). For the write up of that event, it's documented HERE.  but apparently I brought a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon, five or so months before my sobriety date. 

I love reading at series events because they are all different and based on experience they can differ event to event.  Take last week's Dire at the new location. The features killed but we held the event the same day as SantaCon Boston. Oh no, drunk Santas--how I love you, how loud you were, how glad I was that I used a microphone last Saturday.

The link is from the event page, but you can also read it below. 

  1. What is your first memory of writing for fun?
I always hated being told what to write. Book reports…essays…research papers where all assigned in High School and College. When I was 16 I joined the school newspaper, I was writing for the sports pages and I was supposed to write the Basketball Preview. When I assessed the players it read something like Vinnie Scarpello, F, 6’1”, 6’5” with afro. Joe Blow, G, Good ball handler, and actually likes the pizza in the cafeteria. I also was one of the few that could touch type, so I ended up being an Editor and earning the Smithtown East Journalism Award.
  1. How many drafts = done?
Infinity. It’s done when it’s done. It may need more drafts if I’ve written a really rough first draft. It may need more if there are more plot or arc revisions. It may need a few set of eyes because I like to farm line editing typos out because I’m just too damn tired at looking at the manuscript and I’m useless.
  1. What is your favorite book or favorite book-of-the-moment?
Favorite all time is Catch-22. I modeled my first novel after the chaptering style, the switch of characters and the humor found in some very serious subject matter. It is Joseph Heller’s work of genius within his total body of work.
  1. What is it about your discipline that gets you the most excited?
Depends on what I’m writing. For a novel, someone walking up to me and talking about the book—and not just ass kissing. For poetry, hearing that sigh right after you nailed a poem in front of an audience.
  1. What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?
That’s a tough one, but I love words which have double meanings and I love puns. Both those types of words give pause to think and to laugh.
Bonus question: What’s the best / worst practical joke that you’ve played on someone or that was played on you and how can this shared experience shape the world?
Once I worked in an isolated office for a company called, let’s say ABC Industries which worked next door to a company 123 Industries. It was so isolated that had to get in our cars to get a soda, coffee, or lunch out. One day a soda machine appeared in the hallway. Our office was ecstatic, and people were playing it up. “Who wants a soda?” and “Ahhhhh, Coke.” Totally yucking it up—so I just had to fix it.

I got an idea, how to burst the bubble—I posted a sign on the machined which read—THIS VENDING MACHINE IS FOR USE BY 123 INDUSTRIES ONLY. NO ONE FROM ABC INDUSTRIES IS ALLOWED TO USE THIS MACHINE.

Anyway. Word spread fast. It spread to our now grumpy employees, all the way to the office manager who storms into 123 Industries and has a red faced tirade. Oh no….I thought. I’d better stay silent on this—I’m in dangerous disciplinary action mode. The next day the machine had been removed. So, I’ve stayed silent for about 25 years and not told anyone about this until now.
In terms of shaping the word, I say, honesty is the best policy, unless it hurts yourself or others.
I feel pretty honored that this 25 year secret has been now shared with the world via Writers & Words interviews, thank you for trusting us, Timothy.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Dire History-A Goodbye to Out of the Blue, but I hope to see you anew. Hello to The Middle East

Sadly finances forced The Out of the Blue to close 12/1/17, but they promise to be back, sometime, somewhere and hopefully soon. I am deeply indebted and am so grateful for my relationship with them, starting back in 2001. Hopefully not a goodbye, but a see you later.

 So here's the Dire history--location only.


February-March 2001 - First Tuesday reading at Cantab Underground                              2

June 2001-Aug 2002- First Friday, Out of the Blue Art Gallery                                        15
                                    168 Brookline St., Cambridge

Sept 2002-Oct 2011-First Friday, Out of the Blue Art Gallery                                         110
                                    106 Prospect St., Cambridge

Nov 4, 2011-                -First Friday, Yarrow                                                                        1
                                    106 Prospect St., Cambridge

Yarrow? WTF, Yarrow? Rare image. 

Dec 2011-Sept 2014-First Friday, Out of the Blue Art Gallery                                          34
                                    106 Prospect St., Cambridge

Oct 2014-Nov 2017-First Friday, Out of the Blue Too                                                       38      
                                    541 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge                                                   200

Dire NUMBER 201-----Tomorrow-First Saturday Afternoon , The Middle East Corner                                                                                      480  Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

The new temporary location stage area

As you can see, exactly 198/200 meetings of the Dire Series was held at the Out of the Blue Gallery,
in some form or another. If and when they relocate we'll give it a go there as I've had an amazing relationship with Tom Tipton (right), the proprietor and friend.
The Middle East, with their generous owners, Joeseph and Nabil Sater (left) have supported the Out of the Blue for years. These gentleman also have a reputation for supporting individuals, such as broke or troubled musicians by giving them jobs and helping them back on their feet, which they humbly would never admit.

When I approached Nabil to host Dire at The Middle East this Saturday, all I had to do was ask--it took less than a minute. Seemed like a good match--a series in need and a location owner with a big heart. It's a temporary home and I could be asked to leave at anytime....which has never stopped me before. So tomorrow at 3 PM, we do it again--very much hope to see people at the new location, date and time!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Audio of my reading at Parkside Lounge, 11/12/17

This is recorded from a reading November 12 at the Great Weather for Media show at Parkside Lounge, 317 East Houston Street, in New York City. I featured with Dean Kostos, Mike Jurcovic, two wonderful writers and readers who I wish I had their recordings as well. New York legend and poet George Wallace hosted and set it all up.

Parkside Lounge 11/12/17

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pleased to announce a poem of mine being nominated for a Pushcart by Big Table.

Robin Stratton posted----
November 20, 6 PM 

CONGRATULATIONS to Big Table's 2017 Pushcart Prize noms!!
“The Lynching of Leo Frank” by Zvi A. Sesling
"Balance" by Richard Fox
“Unforgotten” by Elizabeth Szewczyk 
“Making American History” by Timothy Gager
“When I say ‘you’ I mean all of us” by Annie Stenzel
“White Coats” by John Cuetara

That makes twelve nominations total for me. Although people say a Pushcart nomination has no meaning----as anyone can nominate anyone from any webpage---even yourself from your own--it means a lot when a publisher/editor (Robin Stratton) who has put out a large amount of work names you in their Top 5. Loved that it's a "made America greatly worse" poem. Thanks @realdonaldtrump--you're an inspiration and a fucking peach. 

Who else has 12 nominations? Drake, that's who!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Todays Match Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Delaney Lester. Making Poetry real.

Here is Chief Jay Strongbow---played by an Italian, Joey Scarpa, and racism brought to you by the WWF. Chief Jay for those keeping score = Not Real.

In the poem, "Chief Jay Strongbow is Real" I was trying to show that now in 2017,  as in the past, we are still taking land from the Native Americans at Standing Rock. We still depict those of “featured” ethnic groups as people to fear, and enact travel bans against all within that group. We have overwhelming police action, force, and incarceration in higher percentages from those dis-empowered. We have leadership treating addictions as personal weakness rather than disease. Things are viewed as true or real because society is telling us they are true and real. In other words, if we are not advancing in all these thought patterns, we have been regressing.

As I wrote the poem, I wanted a line, and I needed a real wrestler from Standing Rock. It would make a perfect metaphor for what is "real" vs. fake--(pro wrestling). I searched and I found a champion named Delaney Lester

Last year at Standing Rock, Junior
Wrestler Delaney Lester won

the 152 pound class in a pin.
No one will remember Delaney

And who was Luke Joseph Scarpa?
He was a fake, an actor within


Fast forward to releasing the book. I'd read the poem and say something like, "There's this kid out there who has no idea he's in a poem..." I spoke about it when I was on TV with Doug Holder

at 24:47 or so...full poem before at 23:45

Which brings us to the magic or the obtrusiveness of the internet, where on Facebook I found Delaney Lester and contacted him out of my own curiosity. Things like this make poetry more real and it was awesome!! Delaney is real and he is a champion.

Chief Jay Strongbow is Real

His war dance began when wounded ,
Desperate, he’d rally—proud warrior

The show is real, dammit, the native American
will make that comeback, always fighting

harder when down, then full of fist-chops,
he’d punch, Handsome Jimmy Valiant

the rival’s white hair was bloody and disheveled—
Valiant was formally a partner, as champions

They fought Mr. Fugi and Professor Toru Tanaka
a tag-team battle of racism. The bout was over

when we enacted The Indian Removal Act
colonial conflict, disease, discrimination

because that was too real, dammit—the money
is what it’s about. Value

Last year at Standing Rock, Junior
Wrestler Delaney Lester won

the 152 pound class in a pin.
No one will remember Delaney

And who was Luke Joseph Scarpa?
He was a fake, an actor within

the theater of our absurdity. It’s all fake
Chief Jay Strongbow will beat the white man.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Today my inteview on is up. 

It is something they did with me right after "Chief Jay Strongbow is Real" came out.

Cool. Click the above link or read it below, but the site has a poem on it. The book is also available elsewhere not just on my website, which sounds amateurish.

So there is some history here. I've had many great associations with MassPoetry. I've filmed rides with Kim Addonizio, and with Nick Flynn, Greg Pardo and Rachel Eliza Griffiths on their way to Mass Poetry Festivl.

I've taught workshops for High School and Middle School students. "Say It a Different Way!"-I put on that blackboard at U Mass, Boston.  Damn straight

Student Day of Poetry UMass Bosto
Student Day of Poetry Bristol Community College

I've read poetry on trolleys and also appeared on panels. Here's a picture from Poetry of Grief panel. I'm not pictured, probably grieving..

The Interview is in their Getting to Know series....which puts this song in my head.


When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover you wanted to write poems?
More or less in High School. I was a big music listener as a kid—it drew me in and that was the age of the singer songwriter. Lyrics told stories, had meaning, were poetic. In college I joined a band and I wanted to write poetry just the opposite way I had listened to it. I wanted to write poetry so I could compose better lyrics.
Do you have a writing routine? A favorite time or place to write? 
I’m a morning person now so I like to write before or just after lunch. I like to work at a desk, with limited distraction. When I was writing my novels I wrote and stopped at between 500-750 words a day, so that I could start fresh the next day without writing the idea dry. For poetry, I like to pick at it—write a draft, pick and have a much better draft by the end of the day. Then I’ll look at it in the future and with fresh eyes, and do a more serious revision.
Where do your poems most often come from—an image, a sound, a phrase, an idea?
All of the above, but most often, a feeling, or vamping off a word or phrase.
Which writers (living or dead) do you feel have influenced you the most?
Dead. Seriously, at different points of my life different writers have influenced me. Influences or more subtle these days now I rely on my own voice, often using the cadence of other poets as influences.
Tell us a little bit about your new collection: what's the significance of the title? are there over-arching themes? what was the process of assembling it? was it a project book? etc
19873850_10154430072976511_334013970_n.jpgTell us a little bit about your new collection: what's the significance of the title? are there over-arching themes? what was the process of assembling it? was it a project book? etc.
The book is in eight acts or sections. The first act starts with the titular Chief Jay Strongbow is Real. Strongbow was a Pro Wrestler who worked for Vincent J. McMahon's World Wide Wrestling Federationfrom 1970-1985. He was 57 when he retired, and his persona of fierce warrior was all an act. An Italian named Joe Scarpa played the chief. 
That said, there are no wrestling poems in this collection. What I was attempting in this work was, in general, the question of what exactly is real.? What do we believe? What do the people in power tell the masses which influence us into believing that the lies are the truth. This began in America when America began. Unfortunately, it still happens today. Funny thing is I never wrote poems about social consciousness before, because I felt that beliefs are beliefs, mine are mine and yours are yours, and nobody cares or is swayed by any of it.  In today’s world, what is going on is something I just couldn’t avoid in my writing. It is important. I tried to not make the work preachy, and more observant from one person’s point of view. Then there are seven other acts dealing with the conflicts of being human: love, loss, family, recovery and food. Never forget food.