Fever is a collection of original, free-verse poetry set in ordinary American locations, following run-of-the-mill people - yet revealing the amazing, the secret, the mystic, and even the divine elements lurking just underneath the surface. Ranging the gamut from sarcasm to sympathy, the verse weaves wonders of vividly evoked place and perception. "Stanza in Italian Means Room": Even the foyer is attractive, with its / blue tile and enchanted mirror. // Who wouldn't like that leather couch, / long as an alexandrine. // Or the dining room with its canary / and heavily packed armoire. // The kitchen is perfect, especially / the mangled sweater by the toaster. // I even like the laundry room: those / Maytags, that almost mounted trout.
My first exposure to Ron Koertge was an ancient copy of The Boogeyman (which I also highly recommend). I decided I had to read more of this author just to enjoy his quirky world view. I have all of his recent poetry collections and several ancient collections. Fever doesn't disappoint. A great blend of wry, ironic, flat out funny, oblique, amazing-new-use-of-old-material verse. For first-time Koertge readers, especially those who don't otherwise read much poetry, I would suggest this approach. Read the book (one sitting). Then read it again. Then, when you're relaxed and want to have some fun, read it again. The poems really 'grow on you' and their multiple meanings unfold gradually.
Fever is one of those collections that can instantly change your mood. It hasn't left my nightstand for months. Whether imagining the sly and well-planned movements of the Abominable Snowman, the real relationship of Ponch and John or poor Cinderella, trapped with the never-ending chirp of birds in ever after, Koertge is my snickering salve for days of mundanity.