Weeding • Jess McKinney

In a letter in the summer of 1802, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, “Nature has her proper interest, and [s]he will know what it is, who believes and feels, that everything has a life of its own, and that we are all one life.” Jess McKinney’s debut pamphlet Weeding weaves together human experience and the natural world: the joints, threads and meeting points ‘like the internet of fungus connecting the Douglas fir and paper birch’. The poems speak with an old soul, as if through our female ancestors, wise women interpreting plant-lore, herbalism, potion, omens, dreams, myth – and yet feel utterly alive, witty, close, new – turning through murmurations, swifts, wych elm, fern and deer, to colour theory, artists and photographers.

Shifting from the back fields of Inishowen, through to the inner-city streets of Belfast and Dublin, her work binds superstitions and love letters out of long grasses.