Timothy Gager


Number One Bestselling Author, Timothy Gager has published 18 books of fiction and poetry, which includes his third novel, Joe the Salamander. He hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, MA from 2001 to 2018, and started a weekly virtual series in 2020. He has had over 1000 works of fiction and poetry published, 18 nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work also has been nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award, The Best of the Web, The Best Small Fictions Anthology and has been read on National Public Radio.

In 2023, Big Table Publishing published an anthology of twenty years of his selected work, with over 150 pages of new material: The Best of Timothy Gager.

Timothy is the former Fiction Editor of The Wilderness House Literary Review, and the founding co-editor of The Heat City Literary Review. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Timothy lives in Dedham, Massachusetts,and is employed as a social worker.

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Some Thoughts about Timothy's books

“Gager both invokes psychological insight and mocks its blindness. He imagines an autistic child’s coming of age, both through and out side the child’s eyes. From infancy, Main character, Joe “thinks” articulately, but rarely speaks, and his understanding of the world of Not Me is wry and sensitive, somewhat like Faulkner’s Benjy’s. The reader accepts Joe’s early Superman obsession, which translates into a defensive fantasy of having “powers”; but the novel goes beyond tour de force to sheer inspiration as it follows Joe, his parents, a friendly nurse, and many other characters though his stages to maturity—and then delivers a tragic complication with 9/11. Joe’s parents have been vacationing in New York, and Joe sees them in a tv replay: “There his father was, hanging on the edge of a window. He was small on the screen in his blue suit, and holding onto him was his mother....None of them could fly, and no one could be saved"

—DeWitt Henry, author of Endings and Beginnings: Family Essays

"Joe the Salamander is an unforgettable book. It is a story of one man’s journey of survival in a world that is extremely difficult to navigate when you are “not like everyone else”. Strong female characters like Millie, Joe’s mother, and his mentor Laura accepted him unconditionally for all of his uniqueness. It is with their unconditional love, support and understanding that Joe went from being alone to having a life second to none. This is an uplifting and heartfelt story."

—Carol Gillis, MS ABA, BCBA, LABA Senior Director of Autism Services at The Edinburg Center in Bedford MA

"I have worked on complicated television projects like ,The Assassination of Gianni Versace, where how we choose to tell the story can be as risky as the story we are trying to tell. It can either go well or.... But, in my opinion, Timothy Gager has knocked Joe the Salamander out of the park, pulling us into the mind of a non-verbal infant, and then pulling us through his life as witnesses to his confusion and pain. The entire book unfolds with cinematic grace, leaving me wanting more. I’d love to see this on a screen, or on my desk as a screenplay soon.”

—Korey Pollard,Assistant Director/Producer, What Remains, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, House M.D., Deadwood, Clear and Present Danger, Monk

“Tell me where to go,” one poem plaintively asks, in this collection written in the midst of a pandemic. Timothy Gager manages to capture the chaos, the confusion, the despair, and the existential strangeness of those (of these) days. By the time this book reaches you, I pray we will be on the other side. If not, then these poems will bring you comfort. If so, then these poems will be a document from a time that will not be believed.

--Nick Flynn, American Poet, Memoirist and Playwright

Timothy Gager’s 2020 is a harsh ride through the dark tunnels of our turbulent times when even the leaves are threatening and the poet stands alone witnessing the tree of his life… an exquisite 2021 New Year treat one can treasure to master misery in more difficult years of the Pandemic ahead.

--Yuyutsu Sharma, Himalayan Poet, Author of Annapurna Poems and A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems

I love that Timothy Gager opens 2020 with a gratitude list. This time-proven Alcoholics Anonymous tool for when “life is difficult” begins a collection of poems that navigates a world damaged by pandemic, cruel politics, ailing and dying parents. Isolation can be lethal for the alcoholic and loneliness is “the handcuff.” As a person in recovery and poet, I was struck by the explosive truths in these poems that confront all of us. 2020 is a collection I’ll return to again and again to be reminded of the strength of words, of love, and to “kiss the ground I once fell on.”

--Jennifer Martelli, author of The Uncanny Valley and My Tarantella

The stories in Every Day There is Something About Elephants are skewed, off-center, off-balance and an absolute delight to read. They begin strange, then fill like a balloon of strangeness about to pop, except they don't. They bob and quiver on your palm like so much lime jello. Oddly moving and always thought provoking, Every Day There is Something about Elephants is Lydia Davis meets Etgar Keret in a saloon and they're passing a napkin back and forth, riffing, pens blazing. That.

--Kathy Fish, author of Together We Can Bury It

Like one of his characters, a cop named Jack, Gager is "the maestro of an out of time orchestra," and his stories arrest us with their reassuring unpredictability, their devoted irreverence, and their tragicomic grasp of the absurd. Birth, family, romance, work, grief, hilarity, fear, joy, and mortality all tumble together until their colors run. These brief stories will have you thinking — even if you're unsure of what — and leave you dazzled, recharged, and ready for damn near anything.

--Richard Hoffman

Every Day There is Something About Elephants bristles with the energy of a keen and curious mind. Timothy Gager is a virtuoso of the compressed narrative. Each of these fictions sticks like a 10.

--Christopher Allen, author of Other Household Toxins

Timothy Gager's book, Chief Strongbow is Real, is evidence of a new stage for the veteran poet and novelist. Before this book, Gager safely relied on his poetic insight into the struggle we all face, and his powerful phraseology; in this one, he stretches out into the worlds of politics and personality. His eye for the telling detail remains, but his work has become more expansive, more timely, and less hard-bitten. This is a mature poet showing us exactly what he's got: and it's good.

--Rusty Barnes author of On Broad Sound and I Am Not Ariel

The poems in Chief Strongbow is Real exist in liminal spaces. Timothy Gager realizes that like the actor who portrayed Strongbow, we are all “fake…actor[s] within/the theater of our absurdity.” These poems aren’t afraid to rail against the world we find ourselves in, where if “the cash is too good/right in our backyard, [we] sign the contracts/then set the tap water on fire.” These are poems that fight for truth and justice and love – whether we’re ready for them yet, or not.

--Shaindel Beers, author of A Brief History of TimeThe Children's War and Other Poems

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. I'm one of Timothy Gager's biggest fans."


Timothy Gager's stories came at us like a brisk punch to the heart. His characters are profane and tender, dazed and confused, out of work and short on options. And yet they remain stubbornly vibrant, these damaged children of Bukowski, illuminated by their desires and inflamed by unreasonable hopes.

--Steve Almond author of All The Secrets of the World, Candy Freak and Against Football

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 human.

--Afaa M. Weaver author of The Government Of Nature

Timothy's flash fictions are a trip-- or actually many quick and vivid trips. Gager's untamed fictional terrain, sometimes surreal, sometimes all-too-real, always surprise. Fasten your readerly seatbelt, choose your own adventure and enjoy the wild rides.

Elizabeth Searle, author of Celebrities in Disgrace>/i> and Tonya and Nancy: the Rock Opera

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

Timothy Gager