Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sarah Hymas, Host

I'm very pleased to feature the poet Sarah Hymas and her Waterloo Press collection Host.

Sarah Hymas lives in Lancaster and at Echo Soundings. She is a poet and playwright and was a short story writer (Closet Collection appeared way back in 1994). She's not afraid of celebrity: I Wish You Love, a conversation between Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich was commissioned and toured by Gambolling Arena in 2009. They are beginning production of her second commission: Annie's Song (a play featuring songs by John Denver). At the other end of the spectrum she performs with Mouthtrap, a trio of spoken word and vocal improvisers.

She's a born collaborator, and has worked/played/performed with other writers, musicians and artists; as such her work has appeared in magazines, anthologies, multimedia exhibits, dance videos, art books, lyrics, theatre programmes, and as an improvised opera, Flocking. She wrote her poetry collection, Host, pretty much all by herself, albeit with a bit of input from virtually everyone she knows.

She is also the editor of Flax, Lancaster Litfest’s publishing imprint and the NW co-ordinator of the Poetry School as well as a freelance workshop facilitator, tutor and coach.

"The poems that make up Host cluster around my interest in heritage: family heritage and all the weight and joys that brings; and the heritage of our place in the natural world. By this I mean our expectations, fantasies and narratives of going out for a walk or visiting places. Everything reverberates, hooks into what has happened previously – to us or to others. Lineage is like a fishing reel. Although I need to remember I can throw the trout back."

Godmother Tongue

She appears late, a nursemaid
weaning me onto waters from the Bay of Biscay.

She finger clicks through my loosening larynx,
clap-claps sea-lisping English.

My childhood stutter is shunned.
Boiled octopus on the tongue

sucks each syllable with chopped tentacles.
She embroiders my name with sunshine frills.

Wind turbines spin for her.
I want to hear her sing pearls,

string them into long stories of short weeks;
dismantle my politeness, cod quick.

Once I’m home we’ll laugh less in Galician,
garble like a wide river mouth. A leviathan,

she’ll be swallowed by my barnacle.
I whet our lips, ready for the struggle.

from Host, by Sarah Hymas

You can watch Richard Miles' film of the poem here.


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