Central to George Bilgere’s Central Air is travel and imagination, not being trapped inside all summer, not being trapped in rut. His speaker (or his speaker’s imagination) is in Berlin, Alaska, Saint Louis, Japan, and Vietnam (as it was in the ’60s, as it is now). He pays homage to Rilke and Dickinson. He pays homage to the Slip ’N Slide of yesterday and the Paw Patrol of today. Bilgere is a mature, hilarious poet contemplating his own mortality.
With humor and compassion, George Bilgere continues his explorations of the human predicament. The settings of these poems range from Cleveland to Berlin, from childhood to old age. Bilgere’s subject, in the largest sense, is America, in all its craziness, its haunted past, its imperiled future. But what really centers this book is the English language itself, which these poems endeavor to renew, reinvent, and reinvigorate.
George Bilgere is professor of English literature at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of seven collections of poetry and has received grants and awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the Pushcart Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress, the May Swenson Poetry Award, the Society of Midland Authors award, and the Cleveland Arts Prize. He spends his summers in Berlin, Germany, but lives during the academic year in Cleveland with his wife and two sons.