Read Haywire: Poems by George Bilgere Online


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 aTenth 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 joyHaywire 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."...

Title : Haywire: Poems
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780874216479
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 57 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Haywire: Poems Reviews

  • Ken
    2019-04-10 22:14

    Kind of shows how silly Goodreads "Reading Challenge" is when you can down a 57-page poetry book and count it as much as, say, Moby-Dick. Maybe the challenge should be pages, not books. Or maybe the challenge should be in not equating reading with challenges.But I digress. George Bilgere. Yes. Came recommended. Ordered two books. This one and White Museum. It's not surprising that George Bilgere is blurbed by Billy Collins. Church, meet pew. Pea, meet pod. In the foreword to this book, Edward Field says of Bilgere, "Not openly political, this poet -- you knew from his very first lines -- didn't fall for anything phony, the hypocritical discourse the media swamp us with, and his own language is irresistibly no-bullshit, down to earth, even sassy. He's unpretentious, speaks as openly from his feelings as guys in this culture can, and has opera in his life -- I dig that, with its sexy overtones."Fortunately, news of opera being present in Bilgere's poems is greatly exaggerated. A bit, but not much, which is good for me because I admire no-bullshit but not Madame Butterfly. Here's a sampling of Bilgere's guy-centric, Everyman approach:Once Again I Fail to Read an Important NovelInstead, we sit together beside the fountain,the important novel and I.We are having coffee togetherin that quiet first hour of the morning,respecting each other's silencesin the shadow of an important old buildingin this small but significant European city.All the characters can relax.I'm giving them the day off.For once they can forget about their problems—desire, betrayal, the fatal denouement—and just sit peacefully beside me.In the afternoon,at lunch near the cathedral,and in the evening, after my lonely,historical walk along the promenade,the men and women, the childrenand even the dogsin the important, complicated novelhave nothing to fear from me.We will sit quietly at the tablewith a glass of cool red wineand listen to the pigeonsquestioning each other in the ancient corridors.And here goes with the title poem:HaywireWhen I was a kid,there was always someone oldliving with my friends,a small, gray personfrom another centurywho stayed in a back roomwith a Bible and a bed with silver rails.They were from a time before the timethe world just plain went haywire,and even though nothingmade sense to them anymore,they'd gotten used to it,and walked around smiling vaguelyat the aliens ruining the galaxyon the color console television,or the British invasiongrowing from the sides of our headsin little transistorized boxes.In the front room, by the light of tv,we were just starting to get stoned,and the girls were helping ushelp them out of their jeans,while in the back roomsomeone very tiredclosed her eyes and watcheda wheat field where a boywhose name she can't rememberis walking down a dusty road.No soundbut the sound of crickets.No satellites,Or even headlights in the distance yet.The great thing about the Collins School of Poetry is how easy it goes down. The frustrating thing is how easy conversational looks until you try to bottle it in stanzas of your own. It's enough to inspire poetic silence.

  • Peycho Kanev
    2019-04-13 23:02

    SAY MY NAMEBeyonce’s singing,and what’s strange about thatis, first of all, I somehow know who Beyonce is,and second, the voice I’m hearingis coming from the earbuds of an iPodplugged into a kid sitting about thirty feet from meon the fourth floor of the libraryon a humid summer night,the buzz of cicadas outsidesounding weirdly like the buzzcoming from his head—and third,I know exactly what he’s reading, becauseI assigned it to him. It’s the immortalParadise Lost, by John Milton,and it’s very long and very hardand it’s a terrible thing to be readinglate in the summer, time running short,life running out, the moonthrobbing just above the treesand somewhere out there a womanis leaning against the fender of a car,waiting for you to shift hertransmission into submission, and God knowsI don’t blame this kid for blowing out his earsat an early age, as Adam and Evestand there stunned in the garden,stupidly covering their crotches, as ifthat would do any good, as if it would stopBeyonce, dark serpent, from remindingthis nice Catholic boy in his brand newTommy Hilfiger muscle shirt,with his fresh, ‘round-the-biceps badassbarbed wire tattoo, that in thisfallen world he’s never,never, evah gonna get hissmooth white hands on what they burn for.MISS DECEMBERI come upon herin an old box in the garagewhere she’s waited all these years,still lying on her bearskin rugin front of the cheery fireplace,still wearing nothingbut her Santa hatand a friendly smile.She must be in her sixties now,somebody’s grandmother.She wears sneakersand a warm-up suitto the grocery store.Her knees are giving her trouble.Nobody bothersto airbrush her nipples anymore.But I rememberthe times we had back thenwhen we were young and crazy,locked in the bathroom for hourswhile my sister pounded on the door.What the hell, I think,and take her inside.One more time,for auld lang syne.

  • Nina
    2019-03-31 21:18

    Haywire covers diverse topics such as masturbation, drinking, divorce, middle age, and death of parents. There are also some quiet, introspective poems, which succinctly capture a moment or thought. Reverently, I unplug the Christmas tree,leaving Christ and the little animals in the dark.The last thing I do is step out to the back yardfor a quick look at the Milky Way. (Going To Bed).Bilgere writes about ordinary moments and events in an extraordinary way. He has an uncanny ability to make a personal subject universal. He uses strong imagery and unique metaphors to juxtapose the personal with the universal in his narrative poems. Poems about paintings, poems you know were written during some kind of travel grant by a Guggenheim Fellow crazed with loneliness, remind me of that moment on a first date when you realize it’s not going anywhere, (View of the City of Delft)In “Olympics,” Bilgere compares the reaction of the coach to the tiny wobble of the gymnast on the balance beam to his own not-so-tiny wobbles on the balance beam of his marriage. He is a master of double entendre. who looks at her little failure with an expression I remember on the face of my ex-wife when I wobbled on the balance beam of our marriage, missed the vault into bed, came home late from the uneven bars.He frequently starts a poem with something personal, a remembrance from his childhood, a comment, then expands into a broad cultural metaphor before bringing the poem back to the personal. The cultural references (movies, music, politics) help ground time frame.The opening stanza from “The Surgeon General”: The year he came out with his warning, like Luther nailing up his theses, my mother was frying us some salmon cakesand the 4 closing lines: said my mother unto the frying pan, lighting up yet another of the million Parliaments it took to kill her.Bilgere writes about things readers know and understand, he uses carefully crafted language, and his lines dance and sing. My favorite poems from this collection are“Waiting” and “The Table”.

  • Michael Meyerhofer
    2019-04-20 03:26

    To highly recommend this book would be an understatement. I couldn't even count the number of times I've picked up a contemporary poetry book and found myself assaulted by the incomprehensible, pretentious verse of someone with too much cleverness and too little heart--but George Bilgere's "Haywire" is different. Here is a poet who not only walks, but glides with ease down that tightrope between accessibility and intellect, between entertainment and (dare I say it?) enlightenment. He takes risks that few modern, "established" poets are willing to take, and he succeeds to such a degree that he almost makes it look easy. All of this, in my not-so-humble opinion, is exactly what good poetry should do.I also commend Bilgere on not being afraid to address the pink elephant that is pop culture, as he does in "Say My Name", "Simile Practice", and "Norelco". That's something modern poets still largely shy away from, in favor of archaic adaptations of the work of older poets (forgetting, in their ignorance, that these poems were modern when they were written!). But the poems I most admire in this book--"Petroglyphs", "What Would Jesus Do?", and "Waiting"--achieve that delicate blend of good humor and deep sadness that make them, in my opinion, both wonderfully effective and completely essential to the modern canon.

  • Hannah Jane
    2019-04-07 01:15

    Favorite lines:From Birds: "...And suddenly heard their silence from where the trees used to be. The Ruined choirs. Not one black quarter note on the drooping measures of the wires."From Citizen Kane: "When I die, I can't imagine the last thing I'll remember, the last words I will say. But I want death to be like my father in his big boots and heavy sweater, lifting down my sled for winter, taking me with him into the day."

  • Texx Norman
    2019-04-17 01:32

    This is a May Swenson Poetry Award Series winner and it is really good. I get poems emailed to me daily from The Poetry Foundation and when I read a poem by someone I like, I try to get some of their books. Too may poets read only their own stuff. I figure you should write what you like. I think a clue as to what you like is found in what you read. I read lots of poetry. I'm 60 years old, so I am not reading a lot of old classic stuff. I've done that. I'm looking for new voices, and Bilgere's voice is clear and wonderful. He has a poem in this book called WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? and he imagines Jesus being martyred in an electric chair. It sounds offensive, but, at least for me, it wasn’t. In the poem Norelco he writes of his father who’d died and writes “. . . all I have / from the last days of my dad / is his electric shaver . . .” He remembers watching his father shave with a“. . . straight razor /brush and lather, the four-foot leather strop. / But near the end, the DT’s / made the lean blade dangerous.” which is why, at the end he shaved with an electric Norelco shaver. Now, the speaker says, “. . . I press the shaver to my cheek / and feel its cold mouth tremble / like his goodnight kiss.”

  • Kent
    2019-04-11 23:27

    It's so interesting to me how this book makes clear to me the issues I have with narrative poetry. It isn't that there isn't skill and relevance to it. It's that too often the poet starts a poem, and then ends it too soon, or attaches very little ambition to it. In Bilgere's book, the poem "Retards" is a decent example of a good narrative poem--one that juxtaposes one story to another for the sake of elaboration. Unfortunately, many of the poems meet the narrative formula of one story starting the poem, and then made "relevant" by its sudden interaction with another story.

  • Matthew Cranford
    2019-04-10 19:05

    Bilgere is a great contemporary poet who doesn't get as much recognition as he deserves. His use of images and his ability to set a scene are impeccable and he keeps it all so conversational that it's easy to dive into. Favorite poem in here (and, actually, my favorite contemporary poem period) is "Unwise Purchases."

  • Emmy
    2019-04-03 00:08

    Bilgere has done it again! While this collection perhaps started off a bit slow (hence the four stars), it quickly became a favorite. The poet's writing is smooth and colloquial; it feels so natural and yet so profound at the same time. Bilgere is simply a wonderful writer.

  • Bill
    2019-03-31 20:08

    George Bilgere is one of my favorite poets. I especially liked Tosca, The Surgeon General, and Citizen Kane from Haywire.

  • Samantha
    2019-04-20 21:14

    Genious. Sometimes profane or graphic, so be warned. Every poet can learn something from this guy's style. Read it.

  • Colin
    2019-03-30 20:15

    Great poems filled with humor, sex, and opera, that -- just between the lines -- are tinged with a melancholy that makes these poems true to life.

  • Lenny
    2019-04-15 21:03

    Wonderful book of poems. Accessible writing.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-13 22:09

    I subscribe to Garrison Keillor's, Writers' Almanac. A poem a day is nice way to begin a day's reading, as well as find poets one wishes to more often read.

  • Merry Bilgere
    2019-04-15 00:15


  • Jackie
    2019-03-25 20:21

    Very good poetry. Billy Collins with an edge. Nice to discover another poet to enjoy.