June 2021

We know we’re a little ahead of the game to be calling this a June newsletter, but since we have a job posting closing at 5pm today, we thought we’d send it out a little early! 

Scroll on to access our Program Producer post, get updates on our current projects, help us introduce a new team member, learn a bit more about a new anthology called Re·creation, and of course, read some truly breathtaking poetry. 

Employment Opportunity:
Program Producer

We are seeking an exceptional candidate to join our team to support the development of our program for Push the Boat Out. We are a small, new, organization at a very exciting time in our journey and are looking for a collaborative, flexible, proactive colleague to work with our festival management team to deliver our first iteration to the highest possible standard.

Our ideal candidate is resourceful, practical, and loves taking an idea and making it happen. With a focus on getting things done, we’re also looking for a team member who has exceptional communication skills, understands the importance of administration in delivering complex projects, and is a flexible and resilient team player. As the festival is new we are keen to work with people with a broad, adaptable skill set and attitude. The role is focused on the development and delivery of the program and supporting the participation of our poets, but also on supporting the overall evolution of the festival as we deliver our first piece.

Read more and apply by 5pm on 31 May here.

Excerpt from “Clean Sheets”

Rachel McCrum

Rachel recently performed this phenomenal piece on our podcast and we had to ask for the written version to publish here, just in case you missed it. 


I am standing in a corner of our bedroom
with a white sheet over my head
reaching down to my ankles.
My feet are bare and quiet.
I am watching you sleep.
I am pretending to be a ghost.
In the last days, we’re already living
in the past, nostalgic
and impatient for a future tense.
In the present, there is a wide black sea in my chest.
Best not to go fishing there my love
and yet how I want you to.
I open my mouth, say nothing.
Suck polyester and bog cotton.
I dreamed last night of a wedding
and there was no one left to invite.
The fibres are rough against my tongue
and feel like company.
I am pretending I am swimming.
I would like, please, the full immersion option.
Jealousy ripples across your chest like a squid.
Let me rub my c*nt up your belly,
reassure me that you are mine.
Who are we kidding?
Your back is a threshold
I cannot cross tonight.
We stand on sheets
feet planted like militia.
The page becomes the territory.
The foot becomes the word.
The words march over the threshold
the mouth is a
the ear is a
our words

our feet
we stumble
we hold



the thresh-
old be-




ary be-

a bord-

across the border
clean pages
white pages
blank slate
a fresh start is as much a myth as new world
the city a palimpsest in any season
I hide into the wardrobe, bite down
on paper, cotton and contour lines.
Reach for a future tense.
Your back twitches and settles
prepares to go fishing.

You can read more about Rachel and her work here

Funding Update:
Witherby Publishing Group

We are thrilled to have the support of the Witherby Publishing Group Charitable Trust who will be helping to make tickets to Push the Boat Out as accessible as possible this October. A huge thank you to them for their work in supporting participation in the arts.

Our newest crew-member: Julie Amphlett

We’re setting ourselves some high standards here at PTBO and are thrilled to welcome Julie Amphlett to our team to keep the operational side of what we do absolutely ship shape.
Julie Amphlett started her career as an auditor and accountant and has come to specialise in charity accounting. Since leaving auditing fifteen years ago, she has been a theatre technician, venue manager, managed the Live Literature Fund at the Scottish Book Trust, and was Head of Operations and Finance at Edinburgh International Book Festival for five years. As a strong problem solver, Julie thrives in finding creative financial and operational solutions and enables artists and producers to make their visions a reality.
Julie is making sure all PTBO events and people have everything we need and that our numbers all add up. Not an easy feat, so help us extend a very warm and grateful welcome to Julie! 

An Anthology of Queer Poetry

“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.”
– Audre Lorde

Alycia Pirmohamed and Éadaoín Lynch (pictured above) have an exciting new project we just need to share with you! Re·creation, inspired by the Audre Lorde poem of the same name, will be an anthology of poems by queer poets. 

This is not only a publishing venture: the editors will be commissioning & selecting poets from a call for submissions, and all contributors will also be offered free 1-to-1 mentorship, workshops, roundtable feedback discussion with the editors, other selected poets, and external facilitators. 

Learn more about this exciting new project here.

Podcast: Kevin MacNeil

Kevin MacNeil is a multi-award-winning author (novelist, playwright, screenwriter, poet), editor, lecturer. Born and raised in the Outer Hebrides, he has translated and published internationally. He’s been an External Examiner for various university Creative Writing courses and vivas and has made numerous radio and television appearances nationally and internationally.

Kevin writes in multilingually and has graced us with our first ever Gaelic podcast! Check out our latest episode of A Break in the Waves to hear his poem, ‘On A Plane That Is Like a Finger Pointing at The Moon.’

Horizons in Poetryland

The Scottish Book Trust has made a wonderful list of opportunities for writers in Scotland and we’ve whittled it down to what is most relevant to your poetic genius: 

  • BBC Words First is a talent development scheme running through 2021. Deadline 11 June.
  • Speculative Books is looking for creative writing pieces in response to the paintings and drawings of Joan Eardley. Deadline 28 June.
  • Mist and Mountain Creative Residency, in collaboration with Gerard Rochford’s Literary Executors, are delighted to launch The Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize with this year’s theme of ‘family’. Deadline 30 June. 

Scottish Book Trust’s full list can be viewed here.