Sarah Hymas

melt (2020)



melt, structurally influenced by the poet’s work as an artistbook maker, enfolds the intimacy of the known with what is unseen, and seemingly remote. Here, Hymas creates a poetic space of ocean as an assemblage of animal, plant, plastic, mineral, technology, human and more, a book that reaches for an ecological mutuality, a reorientation of that which appears distant into a poetic proximity. And just as there is no one way to read the sea, there is no one way to read this book. The philosophical, scientific and non-linguistical approaches that underpin these marine lyrics reveal the slender folds between internal and external worlds, between poem, woman and ocean.

ISBN: 978-1-906742-63-8-1-1 Category: Tags: , ,

Praise and Poems

“Water that sings/ through blood and brain” permeates the mesmerizing series of contemplative poems in Sarah Hymas’s melt. A triumph of imagery interweave, human and sea, these moving poems employ lush, melodious language, rhythmic pacing, a hypnotic sense of attentive presence. Who are we after all, as we acknowledge the push and pull of waves, the mysteries present within every body of water? Absence and presence shimmer in painterly floating lines which resist traditional arrangements. A long shore of single lines stitches the poems, as they also seem to float. “The sea lifts me/away from me/surrendering me to my mechanics/separate and contingent..” This is a book to meditate on for the rest of a life.  – Sandeep Parmar & Naomi Shihab Nye, judges of the Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collection. 

melt is a book that demands our attention, slipping as it does, curiously and carefully, between enfolded worlds of intellect and feeling, giving us unique access to an archaeology of perception. As Hymas brings pressure to dailyness and the ordinary, she reminds us of the importance of locating ourselves in an increasingly precarious environment. This is a wise book that asks us to read slowly; a must read for these uncertain times.   Deryn Rees-Jones

In poems of precise observation and restless energy, Hymas shows us world and self as intertidal zones of flux and exchange, ‘ebb-dragged / and flood-ripped open’. There is mourning here, in the face of loss and ecological damage; there is questioning, an interrogation of our human ways of being in the world. But there is also hope, and above all a boundless sense of curiosity, yet without any demand for final knowledge: ‘I want to ask /more questions / I cannot answer’. melt is the work of a poet deeply engaged with the world, always open to ‘what will become’.   Helen Tookey

Sarah Hymas does not ignore that which we do not want to have to comprehend about our ocean, but nor does she preach at us. The restrained prose passages situate the work in the local as place of learning; the lyric sea poems explore extending what is possible for the human body within the more-than-human world. melt forms part of the necessary and exciting work emerging today from new understandings of the bodies of water that surround the landmasses we inhabit.     Harriet Tarlo



However much your body disturbs you
it needs to be loved

like this beach
you mine for bottles

filled with sour congealment,
screwed grit and fish scales.

Where fork prongs and splintered cups
strewn across grass and shells

are called confetti
which you collect and bin

because in the deep
nothing breaks down to nothing.

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