Imperial (Bilgere)

Having heard that Bilgere is one of the best poets working in Cleveland, I was excited about this collection. Unfortunately, I found the tone of the pieces to be repetitive, and that tone comes across as smug cleverness.  There are a few tentative openings (often about the persona’s father) into what could have been interesting poems but they are throwaway moments here. Bilgere tries for this ordinary man voice which is quite at odds with some of the privileged experiences he describes. In both “Norwood” and “Eighty Yards,” I was troubled by his descriptions of African-American characters.

An opposing point of view (one of many):

http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/02/george_bilgere_americas_greate.html

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One Reply to “Imperial (Bilgere)”

  1. Hi Charles,

    Just read your review of my book, Imperial. I’ve gotten some bad reviews in my life, but nothing approaching the devastating contempt you have for my book. I have to say, your dismissal of Imperial as merely clever really hurts. Look at poems like Yard Sale and Traverse City and Musial and Imperial and Norwood. Are you really being fair in dismissing my work so cavalierly? But most of all, I am totally mystified to read that you consider Eighty Yards as being almost racist. Could you please explain this to me? I am baffled.
    Thanks,
    George Bilgere

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