Ron Koertge


Ron Koertge grew up in an agricultural area in an old mining town in Illinois, just across the Mississippi from St. Louis, Missouri. He received a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from the University of Arizona. A prolific writer, Ron began publishing poetry in the sixties and seventies in such seminal magazines as Kayak, Poetry Now, and The Wormwood Review. He has published more than twenty books of poetry so far, and his poems continue to appear in independent poetry journals. His recent books include Yellow Moving Van (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), Olympusville (Red Hen Press, 2018), and Vampire Planet (Red Hen Press, 2016).  Ron is currently the Poet Laureate of South Pasadena, California. Ron was a faculty member for more than 35 years at Pasadena City College. He also taught in the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ron’s poems have appeared in two Best American Poetry anthologies (1999 and 2005) and he won a Pushcart Prize in 2017. He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment For the Arts and the California Arts Council. Ron is also the author of many celebrated novels for young adults, including Coaltown Jesus, Stoner & Spaz, and Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. Ron and his wife live in Pasadena, California. Source

First Grade

Until then, every forest

had wolves in it, we thought

it would be fun to wear snowshoes

all the time, and we could talk to water.


So who is this woman with the gray

breath calling out names and pointing

to the little desks we will occupy

for the rest of our lives?





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age

Education & Learning

Literary Devices:


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered

Transferred Epithet

When an adjective usually used to describe one thing is transferred to another.