I Chase Lightning by Beth O'Brien is a collection of poem that explores the human relation between light and lightning. Through the lens of history, folklore, nature, and science, Beth O'Brien's poems tell of the various ways people have tried to understand, control, repel and harness the natural phenomenon of lightning.
Catching Sight by Beth O’Brien is a sequence of creative nonfiction pieces that follow a visually impaired woman across the course of a day. The microchapbook provides a first-person account of the internal thought processes involved in navigating a sighted world and contrasts this to a third-person, external summary, like that of audio description. In this way, Beth O’Brien attempts to translate the world she sees into words that other people may understand. Through her descriptions, and how much of her “seeing” is educated guesswork, she attempts to answer the question she has been asked more times than she can count: “What can you actually see?”
Advance Praise: “Catching Sight is stunning in only ten pieces. What O’Brien is able to capture so beautifully is her own daily journey, be it walking through a park or sat at her desk, to also be taking place parallel to the lives revolving around her. Each sighting happens all at once; a collection of colours, shapes, and light that she effortlessly uses to describe her own landscape in a sighted world.”— Anisha Mansuri
The Earth is a Bookcase (Black Pear Press, 2021)
The Earth is a Bookcase came into being during the summer of 2020. Despite a global pandemic forcing museums to close their doors, the wonderful team at the Lapworth Museum of Geology allowed Beth to undertake a remote internship, creating written content for their first souvenir guidebook.
Review: This pamphlet does not only piece together the puzzles of our geological past, it also holds up a feminist lens to highlight the prejudice that female scholars have faced in times of great scientific exploration, considering how change can be implemented for those who come next. O’Brien exposes the invisible lines of society and landscape, and the imperfect grace within. Above all, we are reminded that “it might seem untidy, but there is comfort in the earth”. Claire Walker—poet and editor
I Left the Room Burning (Wild Pressed Books, 2021)
A woman who never wanted children finds herself reluctantly bringing up her sister’s daughter. The narrative threaded through these eighty short poems confuses and obfuscates, whilst completely drawing the reader in to the extent that by the end, one is left with the feeling of having watched a deeply immersive film or read an engrossing novella.
This pamphlet is a collection of poems that centres on the theme of disability, visual impairment, and dealing with how people react to one with a disability.
Light Perception discusses the feeling of being labelled as ‘wrong’ from a young age, the struggle of trying to seem as able as possible, even if it’s just an act, and coming to terms with learning that everyone needs help sometimes.