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Local Poet Jessi Peterson Pens First Book, ‘Century Farm’

Samantha Kobs, photos by Andrea Paulseth

The poet outside her cordwood hobbit house.
The poet outside her cordwood hobbit house.

Attention all poetry-lovers: Local author Jessi Peterson’s debut poetry collection is about to hit the shelves – and it’s comin’ in hotter than a summer afternoon! Published by Finishing Line Press, Century Farm is jam-packed with lyrical musings sure to evoke all the feels of rural Midwest living and immersion in the natural world.

Recurring theme? Locality. Peterson – the children’s librarian at the Chippewa Falls Public Library – describes the collection as an homage to locales she has lived in and loved that promotes “paying attention, honoring and, when necessary, mourning the changes a particular landscape and those who live there experience over time.”

Ultimately, Peterson has a broader intention for the poems: “I hope they also hold the universality of affection for a place that is home, for the people and creatures who live there, each poem a moment held in love with the power of words.”

At the age of 8, Peterson and her family packed up a couple of cattle, a flock of chickens, and a few beehives and made the trek from southern Illinois to a family farmstead in the Chippewa Valley. Since then, Peterson has carefully explored and cataloged the natural landscape around her while simultaneously learning to accept the encroaching urban sprawl.

Individual poems paint pictures of sounds and sights familiar to any Midwesterner: whiskey bottles, baling twine, and quiet, worn farming neighbors – to name a few. Ultimately, Peterson has a broader intention for the poems: “I hope they also hold the universality of affection for a place that is home, for the people and creatures who live there, each poem a moment held in love with the power of words.”

Poet, sometime farmer, librarian, and cordwood Hobbit-house dweller – has Peterson not proven herself worthy of our unwavering support? Century Farm can be pre-ordered through Finishing Line Press and will be available on shelves at Dotters Books and The Local Store in late August.


To read the title poem from Century Farm, visit Volume One’s Local Lit page.