Clyack | Sheila Templeton
Sheila Templeton writes in Scots and English. She has won the McCash Scots Language Poetry Competition four times, also the Robert McLellan Poetry Competition as well as other poetry prizes, including the Neil Gunn Adult Poetry Competition. Her work is published in many magazines, newspapers and anthologies. From 2001 to 2011 she was Makar of the Federation of Writers Scotland and she is an engaging performer of her own work. In 2020 she was nominated by Creative Scotland for Scots Writer of the Year, as part of the Scots Language Awards. She currently lives in Glasgow. Clyack is her fifth poetry collection.
‘This remarkable book by a greatly gifted writer is virtuosic in its use of a precise and approachable Scots, supple and subtle enough for any poetic purpose, a bravura reminder that Doric can do anything. These poems ring and wring and sing with the contour and cadence of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, but Sheila Templeton has a voice all her own. Fluid, flexible; a mother tongue expressing nostalgia for people and places, her language evokes there and then, here and now, in reminiscences that amount almost to memoir. The plangency is interspersed with the wry, dry drollerie of the North East. Nor of course is English neglected. In life as in literature, one looks to Sheila for warmth and wisdom, grace and gravitas. These are the mature rememberings of a makar. Its finesse of feeling and technical agility make Clyack pleasurably indispensable, a celebration of ripeness indeed.’
‘Clyack’: a celebration o the hairst or harvest-end. And whit a rich hairst is hauden athin these pages. Sheila Templeton hus vritten a byordnar collection o poetry here that bears comparison wi ony o the great Scots makars. Frae the eildritch Oumuamua asteroid ‘tummlin tapsalteerie’ throu space; tender reminiscences o a Buchan bairntid; tae wee bairnies forleitit in Karachi spoil heaps...aathing frae the local tae the universal... Thair are poems that wull mak ye lauch oot lood, mak yer hairt tae sing, or bring a saut tear tae yer ee; extremes we Scots haud dear. These finely craftit lyrics are, tae quote a line frae ane o Sheila’s poems; ‘wirth mair nor gowd in gowpens.’
‘Sheila Templeton’s work needs no introduction to readers of contemporary Scots poetry. She is widely published, and the winner of many prestigious awards. Her most recent collection does not disappoint. Phrases leap from the poems in Scots & English. In some poems she inhabits the skin of her forebears. She explores teenage and childhood memories, such as ‘Takkin the Paper in Next Door’, ‘Pandora’s Box’, ‘Keepin Score’. She also slips easily into the persona of a girl in an Icelandic saga, and a 17th-century female Gaelic bard. There are two powerful praise poems, one for Hamish Henderson, and ‘Smeddum’, for the much lamented Janet Paisley.
Clyack is the eyn stook in hairst. Bit we luik for mony anither hairst frae the pen o this skeely Makar!’
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