Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Reading and interview, Poetry In The Bar: A poet virtually walks into a Michigan bar

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

     A monthly series sponsored by Easton Rapids Poetry Club, in Easton Rapids called Poetry In The Bar and run by Helen and Gavin Broom. Up until recently it was held in an actual bar---ever there, to your right.

     This month I was asked to be their feature, which was great, and I didn't have to travel. I was interviewed for about 20 minutes, and then read a set of poetry. It all came out pretty cool, and I spoke about poetry, writing trends, dark humor, talking dogs, going soft, and needing a re-do. (volume wise).

To listen you can go

or on Spotify

or on Apple Podcasts

The poetry of my set starts at 25:30

From the book Spreading Like Wild Flowers, from Big Table Publishing, 2019
1. Concerto
2. This Poem Is Like a Bruise
3. In The Dark Corner Of A Theater
4. The Heart Is A Broken Little Thing
5. College Dining Hall
6. A Certain Warrior
7. Fear, God Bless My Soul
8. Faith
9. At a Cookout for Poets
10. How To Unring a Bell
11. Centralia, Pennsylvania

A new poem
12. Social Distancing of a Town, Population 10

From the book, Chief Jay Strongbow is Real, from Big Table Publishing, 2017
13. Making American History
14. The Filth and the Fury
15. Sobriety
16. When We Talk About Love

From the book, The Shutting Door, from Ibbetson Street Press, 2013
17. reply to someone who said, "you owe me a poem, boy."
18. The Shutting Door
19. Manomet Point
20. The Poems in My House

Some more new poems
20. Ballet of Surrender
21. Seclusion
22, Nine Lives
23. Rosebud Winter
24. Life's Canvas

closing with a true story
25. There's a Fly in My Soup

     The broadcasts ends with poems from Kelsey Hudson, Dennis Hendrickson, Fay Turner Johnson, and new poetry by Helen Broom

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Interview up on MassPoetry regarding the Virtual Fridays Dire Literary Series, to benefit Independent Bookstores

UPDATE 5/4: I'm no longer accepting queries for being a feature.  Apologies in advance.

Today there is an interview up about Virtual Fridays Dire Literary Series So, I made a bunch of links with the history of the non-virtual event, and also the original announcement / ground rules of the new on-line venue

Also the exciting list of features are
4.24 Marianne Leone
5.1 Anna David
5.8 Kathy Fish
5.15 Nick Flynn
5.22 Kim Addonizio
5.29 Koren Zailckas
6.7 Larry O. Dean
6.12 Michael Keith

artwork by Peter Urkowitz, as he often does at readings

In 2018, I ended the Dire Literary Series, after 18 years of running it as a monthly series.

1. Here's a link about the number of Dire Series readings and their location - if you want add 6 virtual Dires to this total for = 217 runnings!
2. Here's a link about the last line-up
3. Here's a link to an interview about ending it all (just the series...drama!)
4. Here's a link to the New Virtual Fridays (I know, another fucking link!)

     So, if I was happily retired from this event, as I've stated, why do it. Well, because of "these challenging times," "these times of Corona," "these strange, weird, odd, (insert adjective of choice) times," and "in the time of a pandemic," people need something to do!

     So MassPoetry is running a series of interviews about on-line readings, and poet Frances Donovan asked to interview me.
  It's a great interview by Frances---a few things that might be different from the time the interview was conducted and now:

1. Maybe I'll keep this going past social distancing?
2. Affiliation of bookstores. What I like to say now is that no bookstores are sponsoring us, we are sponsoring them! My features pick their favorite stores and we mention the shit out of them. For example Marianne Leone loves IAM Books in Boston, and Newtonville Books if you were interested in buying Ma Speaks Up
4. I was tossing around a virtual hat for the features, but this isn't currently happening. I hate asking people for money, but I love when people buy books.
5. If you are just there to listen, the camera being off is fine.
6. To feature at the live retired venue, all you needed was a published book. Currently I am querying all the features, as I'm shooting for some really big names. So far I've booked Marianne Leone, Anna David, Kathy Fish, Nick Flynn, and Kim Addonizio.

Five New Poems in Muddy River Poetry Review

Zvi Sesling-Poet and Editor

    The Spring Issue 2020 is out, of the long standing, Muddy River Poetry Review, Zvi Sesling, Editor. Grateful to have five poems selected, and to be featured in this new issue. Thank you Zvi for your kind writing on the MRPR homepage. Below are the five new poems:

The other wonderful featured poets are:

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Poetry in the Bar Podcast, has two poems of mine.

To jump to podcast, scroll down, and the program guide, time wise, is listed below.

LIVE from Eaton Rapids, Michigan, the Poetry in the Bar Series, the third Sunday of every month, is recorded to be heard on their podcast.

Is now

NOT LIVE from all over the world, the Poetry in the Bar Series (now people's homes), the third week of the month, released on their podcast.  I am grateful to have two poems, Nine Lives, and Kleptoparasitic, )which you can read about HERE) 0n April 22nd's episode. You can listen to the podcast LINK HERE

     The series is hosted by Helen Bloom, produced by Gavin Broom, and here is the line-up on the podcast

0:53 Jeremy Hunt interview
10:15 Jeremy Hunt, Lansing Michigan, poems
37:00 Courtney Danes
38:55 Peter A
41:50 Cheryl Caesar
44:55 Cruz Villarreal, Lansing, MI
49:15 David McDonald
56:50 Timothy Gager
59:00 Found poem, Gavin Broom

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Kleptoparasitic published in Boston Literary Magazine, and the story behind the story (poem).

 I am happy to announce my poem, Kleptoparasitc was published in Boston Literary Magazine

To hear the poem, look further down this post.

So, let's review the story behind this poem.



A form of parasitism wherein an animal takes food or objects collected, caught, prepared, or stored by another animal

        On February 4rd, 2020. I finished a draft of a poem called Kleptoparasitic, which I was using spiders (teridiidae) as a metaphor for the parasitic relationships within death and the afterlife, both physical and spiritual. That night I went to the TD Bank Garden to watch the Bruins play among 17,000 or so others. As of that Monday there were only 11 known  cases of COVID19 under investigation in the United States. Our President thought this indicated nothing to worry about, and did nothing 
11 known cases
I attended a hockey game
          How times have changed. We all know what is happening, today, on April 15, which is no longer "Tax Day." The last two lines of the poem (below) which appears in The Boston Literary Magazine (use this link), seems to  predict the future, as presently people are dying alone in hospitals or in quarantine. 

unlike the Theridiidae, we beg
to hold the dying.
          Here is me reading the poem on March 22, (pre-self-inflicted-isloation shave) where  on this day 27,051 new cases were reported in the United States
Today, April 15, this is the look, and today there are a total of 609,000 confirmed cases in the United States. I am at home, and staying there. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

National Poetry Month, my publisher did some promotion!


  I know it's more like National Isolation Month, but for National Poetry month, my long-time publisher, Big Table Publishing, produced this twenty-second video for my book Spreading Like Wild Flowers along with a Q/A and sample. They did this also for many of their other published poets. I am very grateful to Robin Stratton of Big Table for all the work she puts out for her authors

     The question and answer I was assigned can be found below,

What was the hardest thing about writing Spreading Like Wild Flowers, or took guts to expose something about yourself?

I always worry about reactions, whether it’s the craft part (am I good enough?), or if I’ve exposed others, opened up one of their personal triggers—I worry about that kind of. Writing it, and even putting it on a page is kind of chicken, at least that’s how I feel ---hiding behind the pages, or the wanting to be heard without investment, or to be comforted. For me, that’s not guts. Within my work, and if I find myself doing that, I’m self-serving. By the way, as a writer you must have characteristics of being self-serving, but to avoid that philosophical debate, all I can say is I become emotionally drained right after I read such material in front of a crowd, while presenting that difficult subject matter. I don’t have that same visceral feeling when I’m sitting at my writing space…not even close.

Also from Spreading Like Wild Flowers, they released one of the poems.  


As sunlight squawked once more,
a rooster conned the night

again, waking to repulsion
of head from pillow.

Your eyes open like linen curtains,
with ‘how-long’ dust on the ruffle.

This morning’s hair
looks like a million

which-a-way blades of grass,
needing to be mowed today;

green, growing, enriched, withdrawal.
It is my lushness, of recollection.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Feeling Couped Up With No Where to Go? Special Dire Series is going on Zoom, EVERY FRIDAY with a Poetry Open

UPDATE 5/4-: I'm no longer accepting queries for being a feature.  Apologies, in advance.

UPDATE 4/23-Features will read 10-15 at either 7 PM or 8 PM Eastern Standard Time, their preference.

4.24 Marianne Leone
5.1 Anna David
5.8 Kathy Fish
5.15 Nick Flynn
5.22 Kim Addonizio
5.29 Koren Zailckas
6.5 Larry O. Dean
6.12 Michael Keith

Meeting ID and invite to be posted in Facebook Virtual Fridays Dire Literary series group, or if you message me on any social media platforms I'm on. 

UPDATE 4/2- Gate crash Prevention

Because of pranks, perversion, and racism which will not be tolerated, here are some guidelines I will be using

1) People will be Automatically muted when entering, only host can unmute you, at any time
2) Eliminate Chat
3) eliminate screen share
4) lock Dire at 715 so even if you get booted out by mistake, you may not be able to re-enter--sorry.
5) block camera ability for any interlopers that are frustrated by all of the above.
6) not post the event on Twitter


     This is how it will work. Download the  ZOOM APP FREE VERSION  . At 6:45, I will post reminders on my facebook wall, and on twitter (@TimothyGager) . How it will work is at the bottom of this post, under the Brady Bunch looking picture.  I plan on running this every Friday until we can all go to live events again.

      This is how the Dire Literary Series at the old Out of the Blue Gallery, 106 Prospect Street, in Cambridge looked like. Seems  like the gallery that night was completely full, as two people are up on the side of the stage in what I used to call "The Penalty Box."

     This is what the Dire Literary Series, tomorrow at 7 PM will look like. With all of us, hopefully, homeward bound and isolating to beat the spread of the corona virus, I am bringing the Series back. It will be a way for people to hear poetry, read their work, and sort of feel like a community. There will be no features. Everyone will be muted, and I'll call on people to unmute as the night goes on. Everyone will read one poem, or 3 minutes---but perhaps longer if there is only a few participants. YOU MUST HAVE YOUR CAMERA ON TO READ....I want  this is as close to a replacement to a live reading as I can get.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Somerville Times reviews "Spreading Like Wild Flowers."

     Dennis Daly is a review/correspondent for The Somerville Times newspaper. In their February 5 issue, he reviewed Spreading Like Wild Flowers in Doug Holders, Off the Shelve column

Here's the link but the online formatting of the paper changed how the lines looked, so I will attempt to fix it by posting below.

Well-titled and well-introduced, Timothy Gager’s new poetry collection, Spreading Wild Flowers, both celebrates and broods on everyday life and the persistence of a medieval-generated, but contemporary version, of a morally centered Everyman. Gager’s wiry verses come at you from all directions, each bloom well-rooted and well protected against predatory aesthetes and lackadaisical flower pickers. Lushness seems beside the point to this poet. Themes of hardscrabble continuity and day-to-day endurance drive these poems.

Spreading Like Wild Flowers
By Timothy Gager
Big Table Publishing
Boston, MA & San Francisco,
SBN: 978-1-945917-58-
552 Pages
Good first poems are often set to convey a tone or emotion that engages the reader’s psyche with a key to the miscellany that follows. Gager’s initial piece, Concerto, does just that, while serving as a guidepost to the immediate. Listening to the plaintive and insistent music of a saxophone does not preclude the intrusion of an unwanted serpent. Spreading out reality’s old comforter with (presumably) his lover, Gager, not only seeks the raw enjoyment of an outdoor concert, but, concomitantly, confronts insidious threats to his best intentions,

I became lost in the bell curve,
which a saxophone’s note made

me contemplate: please stay present
because I found this watching out

for snakes is something celebrated.
Will you ponder a geometrical illusion?

Area and circumference?
The formulas? Always the formulas.

Bromley’s Funeral Home, Gager’s memento mori poem, staggers its reader like a sucker punch. The piece’s simplicity belies our poised acceptance or quiet response to the dearly departed. Our myths and well-meaning suppositions melt in the face of mortality’s starkness. Gager here contemplates a tatty funeral card and it’s not going well,

…your face creased
On a piece of wrinkled cardstock—you were
so young, but the memory so ancient,
Bromley inserted a few lines

from an ancient Catholic Prayer
printed over a cliched picture:
Heaven’s light beaming down.
Or is it shining up? I can’t question this,

or understand a damned thing

In his poem The Last Time I Saw You, Gager reconciles or attempts to reconcile remembrances with his once “present” life. The poet’s persona recalls the horror of drug dependence in words seemingly dictated by the “loser bird’ in his head. All the while Gager punctuates this poetic anti-world of his with unpleasant smells (dead mice and acrid gas) and sounds (snorting and sniffing) heightening the piece’s earthiness. The poet mourns the loss of a lover, who has found a new kind of happiness in sobriety, with mixed emotions. Gager ends his narrative wonderfully underfoot with first rate imagery,

Six months later, I heard you lived in N’Orleans,
married an unveiled version of me, with all my “yets”

still to come, worse than all those
wretched “nows.” I feel I can’t stop

from mourning you, or the sidewalks
from cracking, my stumble toes catching

that uneven place where elm roots
raise the concrete higher.

Revivals of the body and the spirit from near endings may well be the only miracles most flesh and blood humans will ever experience or witness. In his poem The Miracles of Recovery, Gager dwells sparsely on the phenomena underlying these marvels. When survival happens the mind bends in unpretty ways. Blooms filled with life retreat to the basic, the necessary for sustenance. The organism shrinks to consolidate strength. The poet puts it this way,

Who would have thought salvation is no longer
found in the piss jars in old isolated bedrooms?

the mind snaps

the body

quakes its resistance.
I am one step away from

being pushed
in a wheelchair

when my body fails

the mind

perhaps just wilts
as a petal, the rose might—

we are all stem, we salvage
ourselves from this withering.

Throughout this collection the poet exhibits a mix of raw images and damaged contemplations. It can get exhausting. In his poem Faith, Gager reaches an oratorio of exhaustion, a creed of despair, or perhaps, more pointedly, an enlightenment. The poet contemplates,

I wonder why
everything has to be.
And I’ll never wonder,
if we will go on forever.

And I believe,
one day, I will close my eyes,
to pray—for nothing horrific to happen,
again and again until the very last breath.

Connections of a Bridge, Gager’s poem about new beginnings, moves in metaphoric wonderment from fear to hope. I especially like his stanzas on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, where illusion merges into realty until police intervention becomes necessary, and the Beverly-Salem Bridge, where the soft curve of the connector inspires remembrances of new love and upbeat anticipation. The poem opens as an anthem to all such thoroughfares,

I cannot look down from above,
driving eyes locked forward to
where I’m headed, water underneath..
The banks are afflicted with ugly
six-pack rings, oily vermin, and shopping carts.
But there’s also marshland with wild flowers,
a shadow spreading from her structure
shading ex-lover’s torn blankets. I miss
the beauty within these passages.

Ripped and torn in the world’s thorny bracken Timothy Gager has bridged his way out and across to the promised, but not perfect, land.  In the process he has delivered his readers a book of searing poetry and redemptive hope. Bravo!