Home » Newpages Blog » Book Review :: Cheap Motels of My Youth by George Bilgere

Book Review :: Cheap Motels of My Youth by George Bilgere

The poems in George Bilgere’s new chapbook, Cheap Motels of My Youth, are reminiscent of Billy Collins’s writing: imaginative, charming, and wryly humorous. Accessible upon first read, they deepen with subsequent perusal.

Bilgere is a master of shifts in perspective and time. For example, the poem “Nine,” opens in a child’s voice: “I am standing by the pop machine / at the gas station, drinking a root beer… Then, it leaps forward: “How am I supposed to know / that an old, white-haired guy, / a grown-up, is watching me / from his desk in the future, / writing down every move I make.”

The chapbook’s speaker is a son, father, husband, and teacher. He contemplates concerns ranging from grocery shopping and desire to bicycling and mortality. In “Where Will You Go When You Die?” he imagines himself as ashes in a garden watching his children play and his wife grills chicken:

“…not with the same skill, clearly,
as her late husband, although
she does seem to be improving,
as I can see from my vantage point
….next to the hydrangeas,
which I so often failed to fertilize,
or weed, or even water
back when I was alive.
Make yourself useful,
she used to say, and here I am
doing exactly that.”

Cheap Motels of My Youth by George Bilgere. Rattle, 2024.

Reviewer Bio: Mary Beth Hines writes poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction from her home in Massachusetts. Her work appears in Cider Press Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso, and elsewhere. Kelsay Books published her poetry collection Winter at a Summer House in 2021.

Spread the word!