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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I write, publish and perform work about our ecology, specifically our relationship with the ocean: through poems, artistbooks and immersive walks. 

I run workshops to deepen my practice and share with others the value and intrinsic role of creativity in our lives. ** Imaginarium Summer is open for applications – more info on this page **

My work as a poet and facilitator begins where I am based on Morecambe Bay, near Lancaster, UK, and spreads regionally, nationally and internationally.

My blog, below, reveals more about my creative practice and influences.

echo sounding

RSS Echo Soundings
  • the hispering
    Today is launch day for the hispering, a chapbook I didn't see coming. This time last year, when here in the UK I was one of many beginning to feel increasingly nervous over what was happening in China and had appeared in Italy, I had no idea I would be celebrating this curio a year later. […]
  • multiple thinkings through a pandemic
    The welcome paperpack for the online ImaginariumYears ago I asked a friend if having a child was a useful distraction to what seemed like at the time the relentless turmoils of life. We were in our thirties and her son was a toddler. She said to a point, yes, although she found being distracted from […]
  • Extraction
    with Joan Eardley's 'Winter Sea'Something happened in the later stages of setting melt to make clear I have as much control over it as I do the ocean. Which while frustrating is ironic. I set out for these poems to capture some of the forces of ocean, and of course those forces are, in part, […]
  • The Subtleties of Violence
    Shapes and forms in Barbara Hepworth's studio, St Ives I've been thinking about Sasha Dugdale's recent poetry collection Deformations a lot since I read it over the summer, and its shortlisting for the TS Eliot prize has prompted me to think aloud about what hooked me about it. I've still only read the first two sections […]
  • Towards a Stranding
    It is perhaps no surprise that my first project after submitting 40000 words of literary theory / criticism and a creative portfolio that made up my phd thesis is a book of illegible scribble, paper cut ups with an audio soundtrack that is more sound than spoken word. Above is the first page of eight […]

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Information


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 Modernist Review, And Other PoemsThe 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

 

 

 

 

Launches

event management

Within my role as celebrant, I make launches with other people, for their projects and books.

Whether launching a book, building, art exhibition or other project, the moment of making it public signifies both the end and beginning of two momentous journeys. A launch is the hinge of the creation’s existence. It is the bridge between the private and public life of what has been made.

I have launched, if not a thousand, many many books – of fiction,
poetry and anthologies – print and electronic.

These events have taken place in art galleries, libraries, a maritime museum, a judges’ lodgings and village halls. Each subtly took on the personality of the book, and proved, rightly, to be celebratory
affairs, whether among a few friends and colleagues or public events open to whoever is curious.

I also launch buildings, homes and art exhibitions, ensuring that the
essence of the work is reflected in the nature of the occasion.

As with all my ceremony work I am keen to collaborate as much as possible to define, design and deliver exactly what fits to purpose.

Fees will vary depending on the nature of your event, beginning at £50.
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Poetry films

Nothing as Quiet as a House

A film by Maya Chowdhry based on a poem by Sarah Hymas

Incorruptible Aura

Harrogate Bedrock

A film by Jonathan Bean/Litfest 2008

Wonder Child (from Host)

Neither Up Nor Down (from Host)

Echo Soundings