What Amazon Says
Tenth annual winner of the May Swenson Poetry Award, Haywire is a well-polished collection from a highly accomplished poet. With humor, compassion, and an unflinching eye, Bilgere explores the human condition in accessible lines and a magician’s way with language. In images bright and dark, tangible and immanent, Bilgere brings us time after time to the inner reaches of a contemporary life. In subjects ranging from adolescent agony to the loss of parents to the comic pain of middle age, he finds no reason to turn away his gaze, and ultimately no reason not to define himself in joy.
Haywire was chosen for the Swenson Award by poet Edward Field, winner of numerous awards and a personal friend of the late May Swenson. Field describes the book this way. “This poet, you knew from his very first lines, didn’t fall for anything phony—his own language is irresistibly no-bullshit down to earth, even sassy.”
George Bilgere’s style is similar to that of Billy Collins, who is one of my favorite poets. Like Collins, Bilgere writes realistic, slice-of-life pieces.
“Simili Practice,” in which he shares experiences teaching English as a second language, reminded me of the times my mother, a college English teacher, also taught that subject. Being someone who appreciates opera, I could relate to “Aria” and “Tosca,” showcasing Bilgere’s father’s love of this type of music, which seemed to trump everything else at times. My favorite is “The Table,” in which he shares other family memories.
Some of the poems, in my opinion, are too graphic. Let’s take, for example, “What Would Jesus Do,” in which Bilgere reflects on what would happen if Christ died in the electric chair instead of on the cross. I found others offensive because of the way he appears to stereotype certain ethnic groups. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this collection. Some of the poems gave me a laugh from time to time. I recommend it and other poetry collections by Bilgere to anyone who likes poetry that is straightforward and easy to follow.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?