Published by Pushing Out the Boat, 2021
Issue 16 of Pushing Out the Boat, North-East Scotland’s Magazine of New Writing, was launched on Sunday 16th May via an online event, having been created and published during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020/21.
image by Jess Petrie
FOREWORD by Sheila Templeton
What a treat to see this edition of Pushing Out the Boat. Given the year we’ve had, the enormous changes in life due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, now more than ever, we need the lift to our spirits of this top-quality magazine. There are many fine literary magazines, but Pushing Out the Boat is unique in that, although its content and readership are global, beyond boundaries, it still so clearly draws breath from the North-East of Scotland. That’s partly because of the Doric Scots, but also it’s something less definable… a flavour perhaps, a taste of this area, with its own culture, its own Scots, its own character.
There’s a rich variety of theme and style in this issue’s poetry and prose. And I love the mixture of new voices along with more familiar names. I’m entranced by these poems. There’s heartbreak in remembering the cut and loss of first love; and more heart-break in the description of an older man forced to find new meaning in life after losing his wife to COVID-19. So much acute observation of love and loss… a natural response to the situation the world has found itself in, these last 12 months.
And necessary solace, especially in nature. How simply looking at a herd of deer, planting late bulbs, cleaning limpets, finding shelter from a stormy sea, even the very sand on a long beach… all can be balm during tough times. There are dark themes of death, the unbearable loss of a child, grinding poverty, anguish over a dog ‘s killing of a doe… and then the balance of a daughter tending her elderly mother, the tenderness of washing her hair; the glee of a happy toddler; the importance of saying a name the right way; how physical love insists on an end to modesty.
And the stories! Right now, we need stories more than ever. Restoring, healing air uncorked from an old glass bottle; selkies who need the sacrifice of an angry young man to give them life; the darkness of a salt mine where another angry child finds revenge on his father; a poignant collection of precious things spelling out the life of a dead Polish grandmother; what exile means, whether in terms of pandemic isolation, or losing your country; what it means to go home, the singing of silenced voices; the frustrations of lockdown, especially when real life becomes violent. And many, many more; moving, engaging, riveting stories. Enjoy Issue 16 of Pushing Out the Boat. I have not the slightest doubt that you will.
Sheila Templeton writes in Scots and English. She grew up in Aberdeenshire, so her Scots expression is North-East or Doric. She’s won several poetry prizes: the McCash Scots Language Poetry Competition, the Robert McLellan poetry competition, the Neil Gunn Writing Competition, and been Makar for the Federation of Writers, Scotland. She was Poet in Residence at the Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, for 3 years, involved in several projects with children and adults; and also worked in the Living Voices project for the Scottish Poetry Library, bringing poetry to groups of residents in care homes. She has two collections of poetry and four pamphlets published, as well as many poems in anthologies and magazines. Her latest publications are Owersettin (Tapsalteerie Press 2016), Gaitherin (Red Squirrel Press 2016), Drochaid (Tapsalteerie Press 2019), and a new collection Clyack, from Red Squirrel Press, is coming out in February 2021.
poem by Michael Stephenson
’The Limpet Bath’
poem by Ingrid Leonard
‘Perhaps the World Ends Here’
prose poem by Lana Ayers
poem by Ian Crockatt
extract from story by Natalie MacKinnon
extract from story by Brenda Conn
extract from story by Zoe Green
The stories by can be read in full in Issue 16
Stella Hervey Birrell
Iain Mac Lachlainn
Maxine Rose Munro
Donald Goodbrand Saunders
Ian C Smith