Geography of the Forehead

Overview


From short, acerbic lyrics to hilarious prose poems about nutty German professors and Dracula's teenage girlfriend, readers laugh out loud at simple turns of phrase before they are jerked sober by startling insights into the way we live--and Koertge knows how we live.

Nothing in American culture is safe from the scythe of his irony--not Joan Crawford, not Superman, nor Frank Sinatra. He lampoons our literary heroes and historical giants with the gentlest touch, and we find ...

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Overview


From short, acerbic lyrics to hilarious prose poems about nutty German professors and Dracula's teenage girlfriend, readers laugh out loud at simple turns of phrase before they are jerked sober by startling insights into the way we live--and Koertge knows how we live.

Nothing in American culture is safe from the scythe of his irony--not Joan Crawford, not Superman, nor Frank Sinatra. He lampoons our literary heroes and historical giants with the gentlest touch, and we find ourselves grinning before we realize that Koertge is redefining what we thought we knew. His poems are alternately funny or poignantly sad because they are always true, and that truth lingers long after the reading is over.

In Geography of the Forehead, Ron Koertge offers us nearly sixty poems, each a brilliant testament to the human condition. "Though he has been writing his influential and highly original poems for many years," Charles Harper Webb declares, "he is still something of a secret: a poet of dazzling wit, and surprising sweetness. With this collection, however, the secret is out."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ron Koertge is not only the wisest, most entertaining wiseguy in American poetry. He is also a conjurer, a designer of verbal holograms. Step inside any of these poems and you enter the precinct of a uniquely playful imagination."

--Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2002,

author of The Apple That Astonished Paris

KLIATT
This is Koertge's 14th book of poetry, that number in itself being a significant recommendation. His success might well be attributed to the clever uniqueness of his perspectives or the sheer wit of his word play. He does, after all, write "Miss America Poetry," in which his poems are approached by a questionable pageant judge. "'So you're free verse. I've heard / about you.' He leans in. 'I have a huge / thesaurus. Up in my room.'" And Koertge has Dracula's teen-aged girlfriend tell him, "I told my mom those holes in my neck were a fad, / like nose rings. She bought it!" Then there is his light-hearted irreverence. "So I'm thinking of making up my own religion. / First of all, absolutely no crucifixions. I suppose / Jesus could stand in the corner for an hour, / but that's as far as it goes." The result is that these poems are fast reading, lots of fun. But there are also insights here, especially about writing, a kind of profundity easily lost in the cleverness of the presentation. In describing the sonnet Koertge talks of the first poet "drawing his rake through/ the smooth dirt, gazing at the fourteen/ empty lines. Thinking of his beloved, / what he would say to her,..." He talks of the "Old & Neglected" poems, the ones that don't quite make it, and "'What Are Writers Really Like?'" Still, even here is a self-effacing irreverence, a refusal to take himself too seriously. "'I'll just read two more.'.../ What if there's/ a sigh of relief and the jangle of car keys?.../ Stick with me. You won't be sorry. I have saved/ the best for last." This is for the well-stocked library, something different, something to catch our eyes and ears, the dessert after the main poetry course. KLIATTCodes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Univ. of Arkansas, 71p., $15.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: James Beschta; English Teacher, Quabbin Reg. H.S., Barre, MA , September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557286116
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Ron Koertge lives in Pasadena, California, where he is a professor of English at Pasadena City College. Geography of the Forehead is his fourteenth book of poems.
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