Tag Archives: poetry

Projects

For over twenty years I’ve worked in publishing, produced events and tours, on writing commissions and running workshops in a variety of environments, such as prisons, community centres, day-care centres, hospices, schools and universities.

Recent Projects

Past Projects
022-launch
Arc International Poetry Tour
A UK-wide tour international poets,
for Arc Publications.

Going Back a Bit

There are a few interviews with myself and Jo Brandon at Cadaverine magazine, and with Jenn Ashworth on the Lancashire Writing Hub.

I wrote call and response poems with Jo Brandon for Like Starlings, an online collaborative project that was enormous fun.

I was poet in residence for Calderdale Libraries, finding ways to encourage people to read more poetry. I organised events, ran reading groups, seminars and was involved in making a large book with two artists, John Lyons and Hafsah Naib, to display in the libaries to celebrate the joy of reading

Recent Work

spottydogsarah

I live by Morecambe Bay and this influences most of what I write. It has developed my sense of sound, and interest in the discreet rhythms of speech and language. The best place to get a feel of my current creative work is Echo Soundings

As well as the single collections, I’ve had poems published in magazines including, New Writing 15, Magma, The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Warwick Review, Washington Square Review, Stand, Tadeeb, Keystone, Iota, Staple, Tears in the Fence, Rain Dog, The Leeds Guide, Orbis, Agenda, The Slab, Smiths Knoll, Shadowtrain, Cadenza, Raconteur. My work has also appeared in multimedia exhibits, dance videos, theatre programmes, pamphlets, public installations and used as lyrics.

In June 2017 Recovery was shortlisted for the Ivan Juritz prize for Creative Experiment. I’m currently working on an artistbook of the piece.

 

 

Hymas&Lewis

Sealegs pic

Poet&Musician combo Hymas&Lewis invite you to
experience the expanse of the ocean and the confines of an
onboard cabin, under the guiding stars of maritime heroes.

In this frontier of tattooes, jackspeak and drownings, Hymas recalls how she, as a twenty year old landlubber, first went to sea, tied herself in knots, learnt to navigate and distinguished spray from fog, ultimately reaping the reward of adventure.

Lewis’s sung voice, acoustic guitar, concertina and shrutibox, and environmental sampling mix with Hymas’s poems, neo-shanties and candid storytelling of personal experiences.

It is a turbulent, joyous 50 minute performance, consuming and illusory, ghostly and enchanting, an experience once felt not forgotten.

Simply staged, Sealegs can be performed it in a variety of settings, with amplification. If required it can be presented in a shorter form.

Visual excerpts

“Sealegs was warm but bracing, humorous, lyrical, compelling. The blend of vivid words with soundscape and distinctive live music made for a delightfully multi-faceted experience. A splendidly approachable demonstration of cross-artform performance.”
Chris Bridgeman, Producer Lancaster Litfest

Audio extracts

You can hear more extracts on Soundcloud
What our audiences have said

You took me beyond the solid edge of things into the rhythms of the sea.
It is a wonderfully hybrid form that I can’t easily compare to anything else I’ve seen.
As a confirmed landlubber I wasn’t sure how much it would speak to me, but it was entrancing and hypnotic. I loved the way you wove your personal story with the myths and cultural associations of the sea.
I felt I’d been on a journey, eerie at first – my hair stood up on the back of my neck – then terror at being lost then the realisation that it’s okay to be lost.
What a great partnership. There’s an unspoken sense of synchronicity.
I’ve never heard anything like it.
Absolutely brilliant. I forgot totally where I was.

We’re touring in 2014/15. Please get in touch if you’d like to book us or find out where we’ll be. We’re happy to discuss fees and technical specs, which are not complex.

Previous Hymas&Lewis Collaborations 
We’ve performed around the North West, including at the Manchester Museum, Lost Voice, Liverpool, Manchester Green Room, Preston Harris Museum. More information on our past can be found here

Publications

*all books should be available either through paypal. If the button isn’t working, then from me: sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com

Sea of whiteness, as glacier
130mm square (folded) cartridge paper, waxed linen thread and blue triangular text elements. 
£7.50 (+p&p)
A non-linear, three dimensional artistbook containing a poem inspired by Sara Ahmed’s ‘Phenomenology of Whiteness’, climate change, glacial retreat and the attempt to gauge an unfamiliar landscape. Where does the poem begin? How might a glacier be read? This artistbook explores the folds between human and ice, language and space, reader and world.
  
You can get more of a sense of the book here 




Recovery
Lorenzo 120/95 gsm, hardbacked cloth covered. Edition of 5.
Please contact me directly with enquiries
An expanding artistbook based on the Ivan Juritz Prize (2017) shortlisted poem.  A co-worlding of human and ocean, Recovery operates across multiple timescales. A single tickertape line of oceanic time, following the breakdown of plastics across long pages of the book, is punctuated by foldout intervals of tidal time, documenting the collection of plastic debris from the shoreline. 


watch a short demo of Recovery here

How to be more than human
7x7cm square book with fold out pages, spine and waxed thread stitching/wrap
£7.50 (+p&p)
A how-to guide, a pocket survival manual for the curious and creatively adventurous among us. Playing between physical, image and text, this octobook celebrates that most extraordinary of creatures by attempting to emulate it. With eight fold-out pages, your book could be one of two colours, depending on its environment or mood. Illustrations made from paper cut.

And if you want to really immerse yourself, read it alongside This fascinating In Our Time (R4) on cephalopods




Wild Swan
A3 illustrated concertina with belly band.
£5 (+p&p)
The unofficial sequel to Hans Anderson’s fairy tale. Stories do not end. Humans have wings. This is a world that is both unfamiliar and deeply expansive, hopeful for how we might choose to live.




Wave Motion
An extended concertina of card and paper, with expanding spine. £10 (&p+p).

Two companion sonnets on the purpose and beauty of waves, making distinct yet comparable the ocean and the plastic within it.

“… belongs in the outer reaches of the [pamphlet] format. Passport-sized and delicate, Hymas’s pamphlet opens out like a concertina when you grip its cover. The two sonnets on the pages that unfold describe standing in open water, waves sucking at the speaker’s legs … This is not the wholesome fish-bright water of travel supplements but a modern skew flaky with plastic…” Leaf Arbuthnot. TLS


A Dock is not a Solid Thing
A Jacob’s ladder format of blue / white two tone card, ribbon and a steel fastener. £10 (&p+p). Limited edition of thirty.

Seven poems on docks, boatbuilding, maritime trade and lighthouses. The binding, a delicate and ingenious design, conveys the movement of water and precarious nature of maritime industries.

“I do especially appreciate it when a pamphlet comes along where the form reflects the content, where the theme is tightly bound, when everything from top to bottom has been considered when being crafted.” Read more of Claire Trévien’s review here

IMAG2262

End of print run

There is no Night
(illustrated card, tracing paper sleeve cover with silver birch bark detail. Handstitched binding.) Reindeer image by Justus Raatikainen.
£5 each (+80p p&p).

there is no night

Set in a Finnish summer ‘There is no Night’ is a modern day fable on love and the troll within us all, while tracing the shifting borders of relationships and water. How do we love another and simultaneously ourselves?

This tender, lightly melancholic long poem plays with union and independence, absence and presence, turning ultimately hopeful.
Read more here
If you want one sending as a gift, please add  any personal message to your paypal instructions and the giftee’s (is that a word?) address.

Reader feedback: “Thank you for this. I’ve read it twice now but it feels like the kind of poem that will grow with every reading. I love the ‘vessel’ you have made for it – so clever. As you said on your blog – in the end it asks for simplicity – but that’s quite hard to achieve.

“As for the poem, I’m finding it hard to start spilling words about it, but I love the way it makes me feel – quiet and still, in the presence of mystery, sad and hopeful. It’s beautiful.” 




In Good Weather the Sign Outside reads Danger Quicksand (art-booklet: letterpress cover, transparent photographic end-papers, card, recycled rubber band binding, 2014) Limited edition of 48.    £8 + p&p Also available from the Bookartbookshop N1 6HB In Good Weather 1

A sequence of four prose poems expose a relationship between storm surges and domesticity. Multiple time frames hide and appear within the folded card sections, playing with how past, present and imagination co-exist.

Semi-opaque end-papers add to the layering of the pieces. This is a playful puzzle and beautiful handmade design.

“The writing impresses too. Whether lyric tetralogy, or four ‘flash chapters’, this account of a relationship weathering threat adroitly meshes natural, medical, and meta-fictional imagery, and anchors its wealth of detail with a taut yet understated line to the heart. The narrative arc is clear, yet travels far, the prose glistens with precise, musical phrase…”  Naomi Foyle. Read the rest of the review here.

“Wonderful. Quite wonderful. In every way. Thank you.” TL, a reader

“The writing is, for the most part, tight, limpid and almost matter-of-fact. There are moments of acute visual perception, as when the sea water beating against the window means the ‘glass isn’t to look through any more, but to look at’…A pleasure to read in every sense.” Billy Mills on Elliptical Movements




Sea-Creatures(poetry art-booklet: chart section end-papers, illustrated pastel paper, waxed linen hand-stitched binding. 2013) £6.00 + p&p handmade poetry art-bookletA collection of encounters with sea-creatures of the air, water and a sailor’s imagination. These poems are fresh, simple and joyful descriptions of the sea’s ecology and the reactions provoked by it. Charts illustrate the richly textured paper, adding to the experience of the reader as seafarer.
“This small hand-stitched rectangular pamphlet is a delightful blending of design and poetry, which work together perfectly…” Angela Topping in Sabotage
“Sarah makes these beautiful creations in which the form of publication and poems intertwine to make a whole. Sea-creatures features maps and torn pages that echo the tide, Lune streams like the river it’s named for across the page. Both publications are full of salt and water; there are mussels, brittle stars, selkies, seabirds, and a multitude of ‘fragments of one world…washed up by another’. ” Claire Dean, Gathering Scraps



Please be patient. Orders can take up to a week to ‘process’

Lune (concertina pamphlet, 2012) £2.00 (&p+p) Runner Up for Best Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2013

handmade poetry art-bookletA long poem set at the mouth of the Lune estuary, rich in imagery and allusion, place and atmosphere. It examines the relationship between land and sea and sea and man, in layers that connect and distance. Subtle, delicate, confident. You can read an excerpt here

“Lune: a leash for a hawk; fits of lunacy; a crescent formed by the overlapping of two circles; a crescent moon; a river whose tidal estuary is at Plover Scar, Lancashire; a poem in five sections printed as a neat concertina pamphlet; subject of these reviews:

 “Lune appears as a whisper. Beautifully and carefully intimate. And once you have fallen into it, it starts to tell you secrets. It is the kind of poem you could fall in love with…” is only the beginning, in Annexe Magazine

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.” Billy Mills in Sabotage

Lune is featured in The Guardian Books Blog as an excellent example of its form.




Host (Waterloo, 2010) £11 inc p+p

poetry

“The voices, the stories, the detail and the imagery are powerful, superbly-crafted and original.” Bernardine Evaristo

“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.” Anne Stewart in Artemis

“… 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

Waterloo Press have a few copies left… I think

If you live locally to me and would rather not pay postage costs please get in touch, I’m sure we can arrange something

 To buy or review any of the books, either use paypal or contact me on sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com
 
I
 



Ceremony

civil ceremony north west england

We all have stories, and stories within stories, that frame our relationships, rites of passage, environments and events. These can
be explored and shared in a ceremony that expresses your own
sensibility, experience and hopes.

A civil ceremony has the freedom to take place anywhere that best reflects your intent. The formality or informality, size and details of
your ceremony are determined by the type of event desired.
Rituals can be grand gestures or intimate moments.

I relish collaborating with people to ensure moments of significance are marked in authentic ways. Spontaneity in the planning can enliven the process and bring genuine individuality to the ceremony.

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

What I offer
I provide an initial meeting to design your ceremony. This can be in person, over the phone or Skype. We discuss your aspirations: the why, where, what and how of the occasion. My skill is in helping you find exactly what it is you want, from the overarching theme to small, significant details: the glaze on the cherry on the icing on the cake.

As a writer I can write the wording, give drafts over to you for discussion and amendment, or not. I also have a huge knowledge of possible poems and other writings that may suit your needs.

A rehearsal is also included for Wedding and Civil Partnership
Ceremonies.

As facilitator of the ceremony I can be as present as you wish, as your occasion requires. I will ensure everyone knows what is going to happen and act as a guide to the event, holding the space so it’s as sure and safe as possible for everyone there.

Types of ceremonies I offer are Vow Renewals, Birthdays and Namings as well as the Weddings and Launches listed in the next menu.

Add-ons
I make limited edition art books and pamphlets and can design, or advise on the design of, any printed materials you may want to
accompany your ceremony.

I also have approximately 100m of bright material bunting in 5m strips I can supply for any occasion – as part of the service.

Script-only
If you would prefer a family member or friend to deliver your ceremony but would like help with the content, I can offer a script-only service.

What it costs
Piece-of-string territory here.
My minimum for all (bar weddings) is £50.
What it goes up to is up to you and what you want.

I do enjoy the low tech side of ceremony and value pre-loved
resources, so  happily work to smaller budgets.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

I can also point you towards a great photographer, dressmaker and cake-maker based in the north west of England. And probably know other people who can help make your ceremony just as you want.

Tailormade Poems

Tailormade Poems

Tailormade Poems is a bespoke poetry service I offer with poet Rebecca Bilkau.

Whatever the occasion, whoever the recipient we can write a poem to fit the bill.

With an occasion upcoming, you need a special present, a greetings card that says it all, a poem…

The Procedure
Click on samples of Previous Tailormades to see if you like our style. If you do, then get in touch through the contact form below.

We take it in turns to write the poems, so whoever will be working on your poem will get back to you to arrange a time to talk about the subject of your poem, garnering as much information and detail as possible to vivify the poem. We can do this over the phone or on Skype.

We’ll also arrange the timescale in which you want the poem. In an ideal world, we’d like a month between first contact and sending the poem. This is because you might want to tweak a bit here and there. However, if there’s less time, get in touch – we’ve been known to turn some poems round in an hour…

(Please note, though, when we say tweaks, we mean tops of five words / 1 line.)

Once you’re happy, we’ll set it on one of our Tailormade Cards, and whizz it off to you.

All this service with a smile doesn’t come expensive, either.

Cost
Poems cost £2 a line, minimum of £20, maximum of £50. Add £1 (p&p) to all poems. If you have a specific budget, please let us know at the outset.

We ask for a £10 deposit after our initial conversation, and you pay the balance on delivery of the final poem. This is best paid through bank transfer from you to us when we accept the commission.

Talk about inspired efficiency! And you can read how people have found the service here

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

More information on what we’ve written is here. We began Tailormade Poems with fellow poet Elizabeth Burns, who sadly died in August 2015. We will miss her clear insight and gentle presence deeply.