Jessi Peterson’s poems are rich with carefully rendered detail of the natural world, particularly as that world interacts with, intrudes upon, or at least endures our ongoing domestications. There’s a strong unity here, maintained not by abstraction or platitude, but by the lyrical witnessing of a poet who knows the names of things and where they belong (plants, animals, human habitations). Reading Peterson’s book, we begin to realize that the poems are very much a part of the place they observe. The deeper they take us into the natural, cyclical world, and our claims upon it, the more grateful we become, and the stronger our desire to know and preserve that world.
–Max Garland, former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin and author of The Word We Used For It, Hunger Wide as Heaven and The Postal Confessions.
If you are a stranger to this part of the world and want to know the heart of it, or if you’ve lived here among the ghosts of used to be and the long gone, these poems, thickly textured and deeply placed, are for you.
Under a ‘skim milk sky,’ under ‘a shroud of cirrus, casting its white marble gaze.’ Where ‘the wind tastes tinny … on the edge of November,’ among all the ‘derelict cargo borne along on the current of years’.
These poems will speak eloquently and strongly to and for you.
–Bruce Taylor, former Poet Laureate of Eau Claire, WI and author of The Longest You’ve Lived Anywhere, Pity the World and In Other Words
Century Farm invites us on a poetic and compassionate journey, where nature, its seasons, and the author’s farm life are framework for this beautifully moving collection. Jessi is a masterful poet and storyteller; she captivates us with stunning word combinations, ‘October’s moon guttering overhead under a shroud of cirrus, casting its white marble gaze down the valley,’ delights us as she imagines blocks of her summer quilt come alive, ‘hopscotch their way over gingham, slide over stripes and pick their way across calico meadows, holding hands,’ and embraces us with her tender renderings of animals, plant life, and of lost lives. Century Farm is a gift of love and wisdom, landscape and place, ‘a bending ocean of grass under a skim milk sky.’
–Jeannie E. Roberts, author of The Wingspan of Things, Romp and Ceremony, Beyond Bulrush, Nature of it All and more.