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.
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
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.
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.
“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
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
*all books are available either through paypal or directly from me: sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com
How to be more than human
7x7cm square book with fold out pages, spine and waxed thread stitching/wrap
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
A3 illustrated concertina with belly band.
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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…
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.
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
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.