The Ogre’s Wife

Ron Koertge wants to do nothing but delight. Armed with his trademark wit, he introduces readers to Little Red Riding Hood all grown up with a fondness for salsa and chips, explores the thorny relationship of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, spies a Trojan pony and the children it bamboozles, and offers an alternate reading to the Icarus story. He meets Walt Whitman on the set of an X-rated movie, attends his gardener’s funeral, and goes to his beloved race track. Seminal figures from pop mythology speak up in unexpected ways: The Beast, transformed by Beauty, hints that his new life isn’t exactly what he expected. Gretel enrolls in night school, the ogre’s wife from the beanstalk yarn writes a heart-rending story on her cutting board, and a group of fourth-graders on a field trip encounters Death. Occasionally setting aside free verse, there are couplets about a Bette Davis movie, a sestina about routine blood tests, a villanelle set in a topless bar, and a set of haibun that chronicles an entire day. Reverend Ike and John Lennon said, “Whatever gets you through the night.” This book will do just that and carry you right on in to the next day, guaranteed.


“It has been apparent from Ron’s earliest published works–many of which long ago qualified as contemporary classics–that he was the most innately talented poet of his generation (mine too: I might call us the Second World War-Babies). No one has been more gifted at transferring to the page the wittiest, most concretely detailed, and most startlingly original conceits of a dazzlingly colloquial phalanx of post-Beat, pre-Boomer bards. With the years he has streamlined his style, with no sacrifice of brilliance. His prose narratives, teaching career, and graceful readings are similarly legendary. Had I the power to do so, I would (in a wink and with one) decorate him as the next Poet Laureate of these good ol’ United States.”—Gerald Locklin

“Wit, the impeccably dressed and better educated sibling of funny, suffers an unstable reputation: clever yet aloof, socially polished but oddly cold. In the warmer, less formal surroundings of Ron Koertge’s poems, however, wit lets down its guard and, behold: charm, intelligence, amazing inventiveness, and a kind of sweetness in its patient regard for a world so frequently bereft of those qualities. So what could be more welcome than a new Koertge collection, where wit presides, and wisdom elegantly clothed in laughter is always in attendance.”—B.H. Fairchild

Ron Koertge ( Author Website )

Publication Date: September 1, 2013

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-723-9


Ron Koertge’s Fantastical and Humorous Book

Ron Koertge's The Ogre's Wife successfully draws from well-known fairly tales to create a humorously witty new book, according to American Microreviews. Dana Livermore writes, "Koertge doesn’t settle for just […]

The Ogre’s Wife Causes Jealousy

In a recent review of Ron Koertge's The Ogre's Wife, Neil McCarthy (from his namesake blog, Neil McCarthy Poetry) expresses his jealousy and high regard for Koertge's fantastical poetry collection. […]

Foreword Reviews’ take on The Ogre’s Wife

Karen Rigby reviews Ron Koertge's The Ogre's Wife.- "Koertge’s range of approaches…deserve mention for their ability to engage and delight. In its finer moments, The Ogre’s Wife turns the archetypal […]