Beth McDonough studied Silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art. After an MLitt at Dundee University, she was writer in residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Her work connects strongly with place, particularly to the Tay, where she swims year round. She forages nearby for wild foods and poems. Her poetry is published in Gutter, Stand, Antiphon, Magma and many other places. In Handfast (with Ruth Aylett) she explored experiences of autism, as Aylett examined dementia. McDonough’s solo pamphlet, Lamping for pickled fish, is published by 4Word, and many of those poems are drawn from the area around the Firth of Tay. She continues to work intermedially.
New smirr sent us over the bridge
to uncover chanterelles in leaves.
But this grey glassy morning
only misted rich apricot smells.
Opulence, gone from the still-warm earth.
A walk past Shanwell's carroty farm,
fringes trees, and bell heather's deep news.
We flossed around now-rotted concrete,
those Churchill's teeth, gone all Shane MacGowan,
to find time in salicorn tides.
Let us be out on the firth flats,
foot small green eruptions of something.
Or maybe right here. Between blue sword reeds,
damp sand and burnt driftwood,
squatting to find, so near fire-ready grass.
In its short northern season
we can only feel into sparse places,
pick tiny, bright spines, long nursed in mud.
Segmented, tenacious. Finger-squish salt.
Our bounty begins as land erodes.
From A Hatchery of Shadows (SciPo, 2020)