Tag Archives: poetry

Writing a Migration

refugee smuggling stencil sm

Writing a Migration

Wednesday 16th March, 7-9pm
The Gallery, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH.

Using sculptures and prints featured in Catriona Stamp‘s Where Are We Going? exhibition as departure points, this writing workshop will explore what migration means to us and how we’re connected to current and historical migrations. We will explore themes of home, alienation and change.

This is a session for play, investigation, art and imagery, open to all, however experienced you are as a writer and whatever form you usually write in.

Full £10
Concessions £5

To book use the contact form below

Where Are We Going?
Paper sculpture | prints | artistsbooks | film by Catriona Stamp
Featuring new work on human migration alongside a retrospective
The Gallery, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH
Fri 4 March – Tues 22 March. Noon – 6pm Monday – Fridays.

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Remix the Poet

Remix the Poet: What song offers poetry
A Poetry and Music workshop with Hymas & Lewis

Saturday 14 November, 10-4pm
The Olive Room, Gregson Centre, Lancaster, LA1 3PY

Turn a poem into a song and back into a poem. Edit with your ears and see how the process impacts your imagining of its potential. In this playful, exploratory workshop we will be using the song form to transform the way you think about writing.

Using a variety of activities, writing and thinking time, discussions, silence and time outdoors, poet Sarah Hymas & musician Steve Lewis will share their practice as collaborators and turn the volume up on your own processes.

We have found that setting poetry to music encourages the light in. Once the words are sung, resonances spark, new phrases are found, and different ways of speaking them emerge. The poem matures. This workshop will offer you alternative ways of editing and give you a fresh confidence in your writing and how you share it.

Attending the workshop includes the option to air the results of the day at the following week’s Spotlight Club in Lancaster.

All writers, of any genre and experience level, are welcome.

More info about Hymas&Lewis

Cost
Early Birds £60 available until 30th September
Full Price or post 30th September £80.

There are limited places available for this workshop, so we need full payment in advance

If you have any questions, just ask…

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Writing commissions

Over the years I have written to many commissions, not just Tailormade Poems. These came from residencies, festivals and projects. Some are detailed below.

For the Walking on Wyre project I was asked to write a piece to reflect the river, its history and people. You can read about the project here

I wrote on Ursa Minor for Heavenly Bodies, an anthology of  the 88 constellations published by Beautiful Dragons Press.

A sequence of four poems about the changing light at the mouth of the Lune  was commissioned for Lancaster Lights  by Litfest in 2013.

2003-2005 I was the inaugural poet in residence for Calderdale Libraries in West Yorkshire. Responsible for establishing reading groups and promoting poetry reading throughout the library service, the residency culminated in a collaborative publication, with artists John Lyons and Hafsah Naib, called Reading is Believing.

Writer

writer, poet, collaborator
Writer

My writing has appeared in print, multimedia exhibits, poem films, dance videos, lyrics, pyrotechnical installations, on stage and as an improvised opera. I am a Hawthornden Fellow.

Collaborator

I collaborate with a musician, other writers and artists, perform my work, facilitate writing workshops, mentor other writers, and oversee writing projects. I have also participated in a residency with the Delfina Studio Trust in Spain.

Publications

Host was published by Waterloo Press in 2010. Since then I have produced three art booklets that combine poetry, illustration and form to present my newer work in beautiful and intimate ways. My artist’s booklet Lune (2013) was runner-up in the Sabotage Awards (2013)  and featured in The Guardian Books Blog as an excellent example of the form. Speaking Salt Truth my second poetry collection is on its way…

You can hear me read on my Soundcloud stream, and watch me performing.

I am available for readings, workshops, residencies and commissions, and would bring energy, authenticity and a sprinkle of humour to any event. I’m happy to discuss my fees without obligation on your part.

“I thought your performance of your exquisite and elevated
poems was masterly, magnificent.”

“Listening to you and your poems is like listening to music.”
“You are a fantastic performance poet.”

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Celebrant

civil celebrant north west englandI am an independent celebrant, based in north west England. I work with people to create authentic ceremonies to celebrate and mark their rites of passage in life.

I devise and deliver Weddings, Namings, Vow Renewals,
Birthdays and Launches. More details on my ceremony making are here.

I can travel easily to Cumbria, Lancashire and  Yorkshire. I’m also able to travel farther, depending on the occasion. Get in touch and ask.

My work as a writer and coach underpins my approach to being a celebrant. I am an active listener and aim to clarify exactly what you want for the ceremony. It is the dynamic between me and you that lays the foundation for your ceremony. The process will be creative, engaging and energising, as enriching as the event itself.

I was trained in 2013 by Sue Gill and Gilly Adams, of the Dead Good Guides. They are both well-respected secular celebrants who promote the artistry and creative element of ceremony.

I have devised and delivered events and ceremonies for over ten years, for festivals and community events. Becoming a celebrant fuses my love for words, occasion and collaboration.

“Each something is a celebration of the nothing that supports it.”
John Cage

Reviews

griffin close up

Writing

[on Lune]: “It quietly pushes the reader to imagine the sea under the cover of night, which in turn brings the lines about the sun or light forward into a startling glow. It’s interesting to mention that the darkness of the poem doesn’t come from the night sky, but emerges into it from a jet black sea. This is one of the overarching motifs that help to drive home the ideas of the work. The narrator of the poem looks out to the sea for answers, but the sea exists as an unknown, and repeatedly what the sea casts back is a command to look inside oneself. This dichotomy between the mysterious expanse of the sea and the tiny intimacy of the self is something that Hymas has managed to capture perfectly without being saccharine. If anything, the closeness that she conjures is one of melancholy.” Nick Murray Annexe Magazine

[on Lune]: “Lune is a rich addition to this contemporary pastoral tradition: part narrative, part evocation of land- and sea-scape, part metaphysical meditation on what the world is and what it is to be in that world. The title in the first instance derives from the river, but the other definitions of lune that I referred to in the opening paragraph of this review all seemed to me to come to bear on the poem as I read it. The sea is a leash, limiting the walker’s range of movement, the pull of the moon is what creates that intertidal space, the bay’s crescent is formed by sea and land intersecting, and these are all things the poem brings to our mental vision.The poem is driven by a need to see, in every sense of the word. And it recognises, or Hymas recognises, the difficulty of this project.” Billy Mills, Sabotage

[on Bedrock] “The poetry is earthy and takes a no-nonsense approach to setting out their journey from community-based god-fearing and pious, through to the complexity, toughness and verging on faithlessness, of modernity. These vignettes suggest a narrative that could make a substantial novel or play” Anne Stewart in Artemis

[on Host]
” I recommend the collection, especially for readers looking for a fresh slant on the domestic lyric, or just a very enjoyable verse narrative. Host is well worth their while, and bodes well for Hymas’ future.” Mark Burnhope on Ink Sweat & Tears

“… excellent at capturing social and religious codes of behaviour, with the acuity of Austen or Alice Munro … Host is a tactile and muscular collection, rooted in the complexities and textures of the physical world. Hymas has created fresh and exuberant work that, at its best, captures the awe of being alive.” Sarah Westcott reviews Host on Eyewear, here

” … These poems do not just host or reside; they make a connection, a highway of energy between the physical, the limits of the body and the indefinable other. The thing I like most about this collection is the so-much-more-than landscape they offer: more, they are a being-in-ness, being-of-ness, that I very much enjoy.”Anna McKerrow

“I read Host four times through and, by the last reading, it felt like a pair of hands about my face shushing my over-caffeinated brain.” Peter Wild, Bookmunch

“Her language is bold, lively and richly textured and her characters’ voices are powerfully brought to life so that their passions, ambitions and disappointments are vividly heard and imagined.” Bernardine Evaristo

“These tersely written poems are rich in well-observed characters and phraseology, witty in the serious sense.They are a feast of defamiliarisation and significant foregrounding, a nourishing image of lives and landscapes.” Herbert Lomas

“Sarah Hymas’ confident language and vivid imagery gives an unusual vitality to this collection. In Bedrock four generations speak of their lives in a sequence that pays homage to the institution of the family. A clear eye for period detail and an ear for the inner voice bring the characters to life, their particular fears and pleasures, conflicts and tensions.
Elsewhere in the book, in poems of travel, people, sailing and self-reflection, she shows the same robust awareness of life’s underlying currents and quests together with a will to embrace its fun and poignancy. It’s good to be in such wholehearted company.” Mike Barlow

Performance

“Sarah’s short imagistic verse is harder to judge in reading than on the page, unlike much comic verse. Where she succeeds is with her lissom presence, literally dancing her poems. Sea imagery predominates but the sustained metaphor of The Midland Hotel as a glamorous, sexy movie starlet was effective.” The Lunecy Review

“I thought your performance of your exquisite and elevated poems was masterly, magnificent.”

“Listening to you and your poems is like listening to music.”

“I just wanted to thank you for a brilliant afternoon yesterday. It created a real buzz with those that attended, they were still talking about it when I saw them in the evening! I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.” Ansdell Library

Poems

You can read other poems in The Island Review and Stride

The Census of Seamounts

Everything is falling
silent
in a deep history
where plains are noduled with shipwrecks,
upended submarines
and skeletons.

Canisters, chains, tanks and bullets falling
at the same speed the sea falls from the sky

to a bed lined with silver, gold, nickel
visible only in someone’s dream.

Another dreamer swims through a rerun
of themselves discovering
a sunken truth in Planet of the Apes.

Elsewhere a hermit crab
takes an aspirin bottle for its shell.

Not newborn, not dead, there’s life unaware
of the wind above pressing these currents

this way, that, they fall
a slow synthesis into dark, sucked closer to the vents
where heat crushes
the last flecks of sun from memory.

featured in Sea-Creatures


If You were Walney Lighthouse and I Cockersands

At dusk we break open the loneliness of night,
hold steady on each muddied tide
and fix ourselves; keepers of light.

The gulls and boats of dawn blot you from sight:
you’re far further than the Bay’s northside.
But at dusk we break open the loneliness of night.

All I do, you reflect back at me, at times too bright;
a warning sign, you stand a quiet guide,
fix me, keep my light.

My wood, your stone; as such, we’re unalike,
cut by this channel that keeps us tied.
At dusk we break open the loneliness of night.

Closer when water’s at its height,
a flooding shoal of silt as shores collide
we fix ourselves; keeping our lights.

Throughout the long dark, we transit white,
our worlds made one: two-eyed
at dusk we break open the loneliness of night
and fix ourselves; keepers of light.

Published in The Rialto


Hold Fast

In readiness for the rising seas
he roped all his fears into one final tattoo, a bicep piece
of lightning forks astride a girl whose flesh he’ll never touch,
a dagger through the blossoming rose of Lancashire
a compass with no marked cardinals.

His skin disappeared in the blur of rain,
low wind. The propellers on his back,
the shoulder scrolls of lovers and family,
protected him from anonymity.

Shrinking as the Atlantic swelled, he couldn’t resist
and ink-anchored both feet,
insured the buoyancy of his left knee with a pig,
a rooster on his right.

Then hung another coil
on the LoveLoveLove necklace about his throat.

Published in issue 32 of the Ofi Press

 

Hammock

swings
the outdoors in
——– oceans dry
—- latitude a spine
———- shoulders to wings
—–tomorrow today
———– an open shroud
cumulus low
that pause before

published as part of the Burns Night Celebrations in Dumfries, Windaes Project, 2012

 

Migration

Compressed between chalky light and sea,
the lowest island is glacial but
for the dimple of footprints.

—- Elsewhere bladderwrack redefines a land drifting east.
—- Children’s eyes wink from the shale.

The channel cutting that and a third
slips so slowly
granite is doubled, reflected block cut below block.
A library of stones, lettered in algae.

—- A shoreline of limestone pleats.
—- Here, birds are white,
—- and skin flakes like ash from a volcano.

Two miles south, and chimneys unbrick gradually.
Clay exposed where potatoes once grew.
At low tide fossils swim another cove.

A different, although equally treeless, skyline churns,
lumpy as the bedbound, facing dawn.

Across the thinnest sound,
slowly widening,
a kelp causeway foams,
knitted by eddies and fish into empty Sunday suits.

The long dead, buried under firs on a windward shore,
wrapped in oilcloth, reel with landslides,
dipping closer to each tide.

Published in Poetry Wales 2013

 

Lost, with all hands

Winched pewter and perry at Archangel,
hauled flax and hemp onboard,
weighed anchor, hoisted sails (crew);
tilted sextant over Hammerfest (Captain);
pumped bilges, hitched rigging, oiled mast,
tarred the hull, grasped at whisky (crew);
plucked poultry, cut cheese (cabin boy);
stroked thighs, sealed lips, clenched at floggings (crew);
gripped helm, plotted past Shetland (mate);
scrubbed on deck (crew), filthed (Capn’s wife);
snatched at sheets, slackened sails (crew);
dropped the lead (mate), prayed for once (crew);
jabbed at Seldom Seen (all),
shifted cargo (crew), clung to rigging (wife and kids),
tore at railings (crew), slung the whisky (Captain),
combed the tide, kneaded mud (all).

Published in Under the Radar