cover of book

Life in a Field: Poems
by Katie Peterson
photographs by Young Suh
Omnidawn, 2021
Paper: 978-1-63243-090-8
Library of Congress Classification PS3616.E8429L54 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

This is a comedy about climate change, in which a girl and a donkey become friends, then decide to marry time.

A lyric fable, Life in a Field intersperses Katie Peterson’s slow-moving, cinematic, and sensual writing with three folios of photographs by Young Suh. Introspection, wish, dream, and memory mark this tale, which is set in a location resembling twenty-first-century California—with vistas and orchards threatened by drought and fires. This is also a place of enchantment, a fairy-tale landscape where humans and animals live as equals. As the girl and the donkey grow up, they respond to the difficulties of contemporary civilization, asking a question that meets our existential moment: What do you do with the story you didn’t wish for? A narrator’s voice combines candor with distance, attempting to find a path through our familiar strife, toward a future that feels all but impossible, and into what remains of beauty and pleasure. Life in a Field tries to reverse our accelerating destruction of the natural world, reminding us of “the cold clarity we need to continue on this earth.”

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