Friday, June 29, 2018

The Sunday Poet: Joshua Lewin

Joshua Lewin

Joshua Lewin is a cook, entrepreneur, and storyteller, who boldly mixes technique and mediums into a unique and immersive experience, whether at the table, on the page, or beyond.

Exploring new styles of narrative through poetry, prose, and mixed media applications, Lewin also owns and operates Juliet, with Katrina Jazayeri. Juliet is home to Somerville’s most unique dining experience, open morning through night, showcasing a combination of culinary and ser-vice excellence alongside bold storytelling, and trailblazing a new paradigm of supportive and professional restaurant careers.

Lewin’s writing has appeared in EATER Boston, Chefs Feed, The Huffington Post, WBUR’s Co-gnoscenti, Food Arts, and more, as well as in the print publication, a combination of literary jour-nal and food interest magazine, Of Juliet, produced by the team of the restaurant since January 2018.

Much Too Long

Layla on the jukebox
sounds like you

Sounds like road trips
in the Riviera

The thing, I mean
not the place

Chasing the sun
running from rain

Half an hour, sometimes
is all it takes

But in shoes that small…
i’ve never known such adventure

Not ever. not since 

shaped in space

that wet wonderland
is shaped by an outer
space that,
you will never touch, but
in fact, already have


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Timothy Gager talks about writing and the swan song of the famed Dire Literary Series.

Tim Gager (Left)  Doug Holder ( Right)

Timothy Gager talks about writing and the swan song of the famed Dire Literary Series.

By Doug Holder

As you know my usual home away from home is in the Bloc 11 Cafe in Union Square, Somerville. But on this day I was to meet with an old friend Timothy Gager, at the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. The Diesel, although a sister store of the Bloc, has a decidedly different vibe. The space is larger and the crowd seems more eclectic. The baristas seem to dress more radically, and there is almost a friendly but militant sensibility to them –pardon the oxymoron.

On this morning in June, Gager (Who I founded The Somerville News Writers Festival with back in the day), joined me at my well-appointed booth. His arm was in a sling from an athletic injury, and he had a fashionable stubble on his chin—with touches of gray.  Gager looks like a man who always seems to be on the cusp of a joke—but make no mistake—Gager is a serious dude.

For 18 years he has directed the Dire Literary Series—which started at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge,and then at the Out of the Blue Gallery, when the gallery was located in several spots in Cambridge. It is currently held at the Middle East Restaurant in Cambridge; its last readings will be in the Arts Armory on Highland Ave. in Somerville. The swan song, the final act, the reading where the fat lady finally sings, will be Oct 12, 7PM. I am honored to be one of the readers—the others will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Dire Literary Series is on the tip of many writers and poets tongues in the region and even across the country. Gager has curated a wide-range of novelists, essayists, fiction writers and poets over the last 18 years. The list is impressive including, Steve Almond ( Who now has a column in the New York Times), Tom Perrotta, Jennifer Haigh, Sue Miller, Alex Beam ( Boston Globe Columnist), DeWitt Henry ( Founder of Ploughshares Magazine), and the list goes on.

But the times are changing, and it's wind has swept into the protective cove of Gager's series. There are higher costs and the transient nature of the venues, as well as other factors that made Gager think that it is time to call it quits.

I asked Gager about any memorable moments he had at the Dire. He reflected and smiled to himself, “There was this writer George Kadet, who wrote an S&M novel. He use a long whip as a prop. When he cracked it, Tom Perrotta almost jumped from his seat.”

Gager, who was the publisher and editor of the Heat City Literary Review, and the Wilderness House Literary Review, revealed the pleasure he feels when an emerging writer who started out in his open mic—then published a book of his or her own, comes back as a featured reader. He stated, “ It is really gratifying to see people grow in their writing.”

I asked Gager about changes in the writer's scene. He reflected, “ People don't seem to have the attention for longer fiction—it is more flash fiction these days. He continued, “Also—I see the inequality for women writers has lessened. Years back it was much more male - dominated. Men read men's novels and publish each other's work. Now that these inequalities are being pointed out—adjustment are being made."

Gager told me that his first two readers were writer Alex De Suze and Nick Zanio. He revealed that he has hosted 200 reading and hundreds of writers during his tenure at the series.

Gager told me he will not go gently into the night. He will actively concentrate on his own work. He wants to secure an agent. I asked him about the latest novel he is working on. He said, “It concerns a guy who has Asperger's, a bunch of strong women, and a host of insensitive men.”

Gager, a man with a busy schedule had to take leave from the Diesel. So we parted ways, shaking hands—silently noting our history of literary citizenship. 

To see the upcoming readings go The Dire Literary Series

timothy gager’S last three

                                                                  Saturday August 4, 2018,7 PM
                                                                The Center for the Arts at the Armory Cafe
191 Highland Ave. Somerville, Ma

J.D. Scrimgeour
David S. Atkinson
Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Saturday September 1, 2018, 7 PM,
The Center for the Arts at the Armory Cafe
191 Highland Ave. Somerville, Ma

Sonya Larson
Michael C. Keith
Marguerite Bouvard

Friday October 12, 2018, 7 PM,
The Center for the Arts at the Armory Cafe
191 Highland Ave. Somerville, Ma

Elizabeth Graver
Amy Dresner
Rusty Barnes
Nadine Darling
Doug Holder
Hannah Larrabee
Renuka Raghavan