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04.10 The Dirty Gerund


Poetry’s Raucous Reign at Ralph’s

By Bill MacMillan

Gerund: A verb form that ends in -ing and is used as a noun (e.g. reading, talking)

Dirty Gerund: The most fun you can have on a Monday night

photo by Alana Melanson
photo by Alana Melanson

Alex Charalambides (along with co-organizer Nick Davis) hosts the Dirty Gerund, Worcester’s hottest weekly poetry reading. A combination reading, rock show and comedy variety show, the Dirty Gerund has been making Monday nights exciting again. I had a chance to sit down with Alex to talk about the reading.

What is the Dirty Gerund?

“In short, The Dirty Gerund is a new brand of ruckus being offered to the cultural stew of Worcester. Being that we live in a city with a rich poetry and performance poetry tradition, we realized that if our ‘show’ was gonna be successful, we were gonna have to do something different. So we turned this reading into a variety show of sorts, featuring music from our House Band, Shane Hall and the Ticklebomb Orchestra, a rockin’ crew who’ll back up any poet who wishes to collaborate on stage. We’re also bringing zany, mad-cap fun poetry challenges every week to the table from “The Iron Poet Challenge” to “The Miss Dirty Gerund Pageant;” we’re having a lot of fun, building a community for this kind of cross genre blend in an attempt to expand the audience for poetry.“

What is a typical night at the Dirty Gerund like?

“We usually kick things off at 9pm with a few tunes by the band. We have a modest open mic, for people who want to share. We do our best to bring in the best regional artists and nationally touring performance poets for featured performances. Half way through the open mic, we offer a “snack-time,” complete with a little ditty the band wrote, ‘cause you know, people dig snacks! The band kicks out a couple of their songs or covers throughout the evening. We usually cap the evening off with one of our signature challenges that we promote the week before the show on our website.” (

Why Ralph’s?

“Simply put, Ralph’s has consistently been one of the rockinest clubs in Worcester! I’ve been a fan for many years. It’s got its own scene, a built-in network, a history of supporting live shows and original music. I’ve always wanted to have a reading there, but have never been able to commit to it, until recently. But now that we have, I’m wondering why I never did before. Ralph’s staff (especially bartender Yosh Shartin) have been super supportive every step of the way!”

The Dirty Gerund happens every Monday at Ralph’s Diner (148 Grove St., Worcester).
Sign-up for the open reading begins at 8:45pm; the show begins at 9pm.

The show is 21+ and open to all skill levels. A hat is passed to support the reading.

For more info on upcoming features and readings, see the Dirty website,

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