Monday, November 13, 2017

Interview on Mass Poetry site: GETTING TO KNOW TIMOTHY GAGER AND HIS NEW BOOK CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW IS REAL

Today my inteview on  MassPoetry.org 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
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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.


GETTING TO KNOW TIMOTHY GAGER AND HIS NEW BOOK CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW IS REAL

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.
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