“Central Air” by JCU professor George Bilgere


George Bilgere

Sydni Bratthauar covers JCU professor George Bilgere’s new book, “Central Air.”

Sydni Bratthauar, Staff Reporter

George Bilgere, a John Carroll University professor in the English Department, has a new book of poetry set to be released later this month. I had the privilege of interviewing Bilgere about his new poetry anthology, “Central Air,” which has a terrific balance of humor and seriousness.

Bilgere has written seven poetry collections before “Central Air.” He was an avid reader as a kid and took a poetry writing workshop as an undergrad student. He told a story of when a kid brought in a contemporary poem about football games, the players and the love from their parents. Bilgere didn’t think poems like this existed, as he thought all poems were like Shakespeare.

“It blew me away and then I started writing poems in the class. I was good at it, and I got praised for it. Within a few weeks, I changed my major. If you discover something in your life that you can do well, you’re set. Nothing brings me more pleasure or joy,” Bilgere explained.

Bilgere’s books are made up of a random collection of poetry, but there are themes that emerge, such as family and American culture. Bilgere said, “A lot of my poems just have something to do with American culture and what life is like in this crazy, mixed up, beautiful, exciting, wacky country right now.”

Author of “Central Air” and JCU professor George Bilgere. (George Bilgere)

He’s traveled to Berlin, Germany for the past couple of summers with his family. Berlin is filled with creative people: poets, musicians and dancers. He finds it easier to write about the U.S. when he’s not in the country because he can see it more clearly. When asked about how people would relate to his writing, Bilgere answered with a quote one of his friends said: “If my poems were any more accessible, they would come with a wheelchair ramp.”

Bilgere’s poems are not intellectually demanding or obscure. They’re easy to understand and can reach large audiences. He wants to write for the person working in the bakery down the street, for people who want to read. The way he put it was, “I’d like to think that you can sit down by the fireplace and read my book and say ‘Hey, that was good. I want to come back to it.’”

Bilgere’s book is going to be available on Amazon on March 15, but you can pre-order it now. Bilgere ended the interview by saying, “I’m already starting on my ninth, but this is my eighth book and I hope it won’t be my last.”