Cheap Motels of My Youth


Poems by George Bilgere



George Bilgere

« Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner »

In Cheap Motels of My Youth, George Bilgere continues his explorations, both funny and poignant, of modern life in America. The collection deals loosely with the subjects of divorce, sexuality, and American culture from the 1950s to today. The poems vary in tone from the fairly serious to the reflective and meditative, to the wryly comic. Bilgere is a writer who will risk wild laughter in poems that are totally heartfelt, that delight in the twists and turns of the glorious American language.


From the Author

When I was eight years old my parents got divorced. My mother packed her three kids into an old Chevy station wagon and drove us from St. Louis to Riverside, California, looking for a fresh start. She had visited there when she was an Army nurse stationed in LA during the war and fell in love with the place. That cross-country car trip, full of cheap diners, cheap hotels, and desperation, changed my life. I fell in love with the vastness and beauty, the glamor and tawdriness, of America. I’ve travelled all over the country since then, on that ancient and deeply American quest, the search for home.


Sample Poems

• “Nine” in New Ohio Review
• “I Heard a Fly Buzz” in Quill & Parchment
• “Misting” in Rattle (online)
• “Abandoned Bicycle” in Rattle (online)
• “Cheap Motels of My Youth” in Rattle (online)


Reviews of Cheap Motels of My Youth

If the hotel stays of his youth had been 5 star, I dare say [George] wouldn’t be half as good. He carries his wounds proudly and can juggle nostalgia, worry, tenderness, and laugh-out-loud moments in a single poem. I began my Bilgere readings before he had two little boys, who have made his writing more tender and him more worried about age.
—Alarie Tennille, in Goodreads

Bilgere can always elicit a smile from even the grimmest situation, owing largely to his dexterity with language. … Cheap Motels of My Youth is a real treat to read. There’s a reason George Bilgere is my favorite poet.
—Charles Rammelkamp, in London Grip Poetry Review


About the Author

Photo of George BilgereGeorge Bilgere, his wife, and his two exceptionally fine little boys spend the school year in Cleveland, Ohio, because living in Cleveland builds character. In the summers the family heads off to Berlin, Germany, where the kids study German while George does important research on beer gardens. He’s the author of eight collections of poetry and shows no signs of slowing down.



Cover art by Dorrell Tibbs
ISBN: 978-1-931307-56-7
Cover price: $9.00
Chapbook: 40 pages
Size: 6″ x 9″