Cover Image: Fog and Smoke

Fog and Smoke

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

“Fog and Smoke: Poems” by Katie Peterson is a collection of poetry that speaks to the jarring juxtapositions of our modern world: nature is both lovely and bleak, and it is both a nurturing home and an indifferent threat. In these poems, Peterson explores our current experience of nature in a modern, technological world that is threatened by the climate crisis, viruses, and societal disconnection. This is a collection that shows us vital small moments of connection between people, and between ourselves and nature, pondering our place on the planet. It speaks directly to Californians living with fire seasons, fog, Covid, and the uncertainty climate change brings to our lives. Through both fog and smoke, we lose and find ourselves.

Was this review helpful?

This poetry book is for someone but it isn't for me. I just didn't gravitate towards to the words or the things spoken about in this book. No hate to the author, just want to share my own personal experience.

Was this review helpful?

I thought this volume was exceptionally strong. Katie Paterson's lyrical meditation on the spirit of the times in which we now live finds a subtle and varied range of tones to capture our experience of time, change, and vulnerability. The controling metaphors for the entire volume pass from literal to figurative to literal again, drawing the reader nearer to their weight through this circulation. The middle section delivers a meditative experience of community and family at the limits of our dual crisis, the devastation of the pandemic and the destruction of the climate in which we have thrived.

Was this review helpful?

Fog and Smoke left me feeling underwhelmed. While Peterson's poetry is polished and well written it lacked a sense of theme and emotion. Certain gems shone throughout; the line "Trouble, such a beautiful word,\ I wish we could say it with abandon." grips the reader with emotion and longing.

Overall this is a miss for me but is a well written collection nonetheless.

My favorite poems are: "The Interior" and "The Walk To The Road, When Dinner Was Over."

Was this review helpful?

2.5 stars

I must admit that this collection was very...mediocre. None of them really stuck with me and I read this over a week ago and have already almost completely forgotten it. I can usually remember at least one poem from each collection I read, but I look at this and I'm like, "Yeah, I did read that in an hour and I remember nothing." Oh, well. You win some poetry collections and you lose others. The cover is absolutely stunning, though.

Was this review helpful?

This one took me a little while to properly get into, but once i got into the flow of the writing, I did enjoy it.
The only thing I didn’t particularly like was that quite a few of the poems were overly long and as if a thesaurus had word-vomited all over the page.
‘The Teacher and The Student’ I know is inspired by part of a biography, but ‘Smoke’ and ‘Americans’ felt like short stories more than poetry.

Overall, I found the writing beautiful and I would happily eat up anything Katie Peterson writes - poetry or short stories, I want it all.

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Was this review helpful?

Set against the backdrop of climate apocalypse, these poems cast their eye over the quotidian banality of living in the end times. A persistent fog lays over these poems, obscuring and confusing thought, leaving the reader reaching for each perfectly constructed line to pull them forwards.

Was this review helpful?

This was a really variable collection. A handful of the poems were excellent but most were underwhelming thematically and formally.

Was this review helpful?

(Thank you to Katie Peterson and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC)

I liked this poetry book and its writing. But it was sometimes hard for me to understand some of the poems due to my lack of knowledge when it came to what the poems were written about/ inspired by.

There was however a list at the end of the book where it said what the poems were inspired by and the author also wrote what they were written for and that was really helpful.

Although I liked this poetry book I also felt like the poems made me a tiny bit confused about what they were saying and I ended up having to reread some of them. But that might just be me having English as my second language.

However I feel like a lot of the poems I did understand were really beautiful and they were very inspiring.

Was this review helpful?

I had a more difficult time with this than I was expecting. I loved the content and there were so many lines that made me want to go sit down and write myself, but I struggled with the some large areas of disconnect. Particularly at the beginning, which made the other areas stand out all the more for me. There were several times where I found myself thinking that much of this would work better as a prose poem as sometimes the line breaks got in the words’ way.

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the ARC

Was this review helpful?

Peterson may as well have been wielding a sledgehammer. That's how affected I was by some of her lyrical poetry...
Her stream-of-consciousness style had me gripping the edge of every seat, windowsill, and bed I sat on. The moments of life that were highlighted felt like reading a personal journal. Wherein Peterson finds something that moves her and then proceeds to move us with it.
Particularly, her third movement or chapter where she begins to delve into familial relationships via American cultural understanding- whether that be through immigration or fire maps. The visceral reaction that my body had to Stars, Days, Words, and Argument with a Child left me breathless. I understand as a mother to my own this awe of what you helped to create and the feeling of tug-a-war over autonomy.
This is a work of a master wordsmith and I recommend it to anyone willing to look within their own stream of consciousness for that shred of humanity you may have seem to have lost within these last few years.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for a free E-arc in exchange for my honest review. Fog & Smoke is a poetry collection from Katie Peterson broken into two sections. The whole collection explores wild fires, California climate, and the unpredictable nature of life.
My favorite poems were:
Stars, Days, Words: which explores a young girl's view of the world,
The Fire Map: which talks about how the fire map downplays the fires and leaves then nameless,
The Mother: which again explores childhood vs. Adulthood, and
Americans: which explores the ways Americans process events, emotions, and dreams.
Overall, I would recommend this collection.

Was this review helpful?

Great blend of the anxieties and wonders of parenthood against the natural disaster of our world unraveling! Definitely worth your time when it comes out early next year.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this short collection. Katie Peterson's writing is evocative and compelling. The second half of the book, focused on wildfires and living with climate change; I found these poems particularly poignant.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to FSG and Netgalley for this ARC! A beautiful collection of poems that is rooted in the familial home and in the state of California where forest fires rage. They explore the delicate tension of being present to the everyday life of mothering while also bearing witness to the increasing destruction of climate change. "Fog," "The Fire Map," and "The Web" were all standouts.

Was this review helpful?

A graceful and vivid collection of poems addressing climate change, climate grief and environmental crisis. I am so glad this book will soon be out in the world--urgent and necessary reading.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley, Katie Peterson, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishing for the advanced reader copy of Fog and Smoke.

This review will be short. I was never a fan of poetry, it just never resonated with me. I was hoping if I read more of it that I would start to enjoy it. After reading Fog and Smoke I still don’t enjoy poetry.

However, there were some poems that I actually read multiple times, and for someone who doesn’t like poetry, that’s pretty big praise.

I do think that poetry lovers would enjoy this book though and should totally look in to buying a copy or checking one out from their local library!

Was this review helpful?

This collection is broken down into three sections. I found the first to be rather challenging. Though, upon a second read with context in mind, I was flooded with relief at my ability to understand.

Many of the poems had a feeling of disjointedness that felt deliberate. I know this collection was heavily influenced by the pandemic as well as the wildfires. I feel that this feeling of disjointedness really reflects the position we were all in during those times, trying to reconcile what was going on in the world and how it was affecting us emotionally. For many of us, the prevailing emotions were of confusion and a separateness. I feel the author laid these out very well for the reader to feel. Although, I think there is something lost if these are read without an understanding of the world at the time.

In the more intimate poems, with words about love and children, I felt it was much easier to connect to the poetry. There was ache, and there was a familiarity that I loved. No emotion was singular, but felt multi-dimensional in the way it was delivered. It paints a picture of a woman who lives internally in so many ways and her interactions with the world around her.

My personal favorites, at the time of writing this review, are “The Teacher and the Student,” “The Walk to the Road, when Dinner was Over,” “The Country,” “The Supermoon,” “Second Family,” “The Alphabet, for Emily,” “The Web,” and “Americans.” I suppose that’s quite a few, but so many had lines that resonated with me so I couldn’t leave them out. Overall, I enjoyed the collection, though it was challenging and didn’t hit me on a personal level as much as some other poetry has.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review an advanced digital copy of this collection.

Was this review helpful?

It never covered everything like a shroud.
It was always suspended over
like nineteenth-century women waiting for

A collection of poems, “Fog and smoke” portrays the events of recent years through witty metaphors, as well as the human condition everybody endured during the pandemic and the destruction of nature around the world, specifically in California.

Divided into three parts, the collection dwells on the environmental crisis depicting the way the cities are being surrounded by the smoke caused by wildfires and how death became excruciatingly present throughout the pandemic. Another topic included in this book is relationships, which range from romantic to platonic, where the author enhances them to the eyes of the reader even if they are not considered meaningful.

Katie Peterson took the mundane feelings everyone experiences to twist them into beauty represented in a precise set of poems, her thoughts need to be in the heads of every person, no matter the age.

I’m grateful with NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the opportunity of letting me read this before its publication.

Was this review helpful?

Katie Peterson's Fog and Smoke is very much a collection of its time as it explores life within a pandemic and a climate crisis. No doubt its relevancy will remain as we navigate our lives in societies irrevocably changed by Covid-19 and in a world increasingly showing signs of abnormal and rapid climate change.

The first section, Fog, reflects upon the isolation felt during the pandemic and how this impacted us, often far deeper than we would care to admit. While the detachment and fragmentary nature of this poem deliberately mirrors how many of us felt, I found it difficult to connect with it as a result. But again, perhaps that is the very point, it just didn't read as well as Peterson's later poems in this collection because as Peterson then writes about parenthood, birth and death, and then crisis, the human at the centre of it all became palpably relatable.

In these later poems, Peterson's style is steeped in line-level brilliance, romantic narrative and this constant sense of time being far too fleeting. I felt the ache, the desire for everything to slow down, despite just coming out of a time where things came to a standstill. This juxtaposition is caught in Peterson's work, masterfully. And so, despite my difficulties with the opening part, I can appreciate Peterson's intentions and dedication to poetic craft.

Was this review helpful?