SUBMITTED PHOTO “Swallowed by Smoke” is available to be checked out at the Jefferson Public Library.

Local author shares first poetry book “Swallowed by Smoke”


When Abby Jacobson first decided to write a poetry book five months ago, she searched for her old notebook of poems from when she was a kid. Finding herself unsuccessful in this search, only recovering a few poems from her teen years, she decided to start over. 

After months of writing, Jacobson finally released her first poetry book, “Swallowed by Smoke.” Jacobson will share her poems at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Churdan Public Library. 

Jacobson described holding her published book for the first time as “surreal” because she was finally sharing what she had spent so long experiencing and writing. 

“It was little pieces of my heart that now I’m opening up and to see that in print with the cover and title was really cool,” Jacobson said.

With the help of a title generator she found online, Jacobson came up with “Swallowed by Smoke.” She said it represented what her year had felt like, which was her primary inspiration while writing this book.

“A lot of what I was writing was very dark, so ‘Swallowed by Smoke’ felt like it fit,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson covers the difficult topics of mental health, postpartum depression, addiction, grief and growing up with divorced parents. When writing about these tough times, she also wants to find balance with everything good she’s experienced. She mentions parenting, growth, healing, rain and sunlight as the positive things she writes about.

Parenting has become a huge part of Jacobson’s life, and she said her son has inspired many of her poems.

When inspiration strikes, sometimes causing Jacobson to pull over while driving to write down her thoughts, she doesn’t hold back and translates everything she feels to the page.

“We all have struggles, private or public, that shape who we are and I am no different in that respect,” Jacobson said.

These themes are important for Jacobson to write about challenging topics to try and reduce the stigma behind talking about them. By educating people about how common these issues are, Jacobson thinks a better understanding of mental health and personal struggles can be found. 

“We might experience something traumatic or we might be grieving something, but within that process there’s also the healing that we need, that we’re also looking for,” Jacobson said.

If readers are able to feel seen and less alone after reading any of the 55 poems, Jacobson feels successful in her work. She said she loves that people have reached out to her after reading and told her how much the poems meant to them, and that she perfectly described a feeling or experience they had.

Jacobson reached out to the Churdan Library to let them know she had written a book, and director Shari Minnehan invited her to promote her poetry at the library as a way to celebrate a local author.

“Swallowed by Smoke” can be bought on Amazon and limited copies are available at Dog-Eared Books in Ames. There is one copy available to be checked out at the Churdan and Jefferson public libraries.

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