Sarah Dawson is a poet, artist, performer, researcher and educator. She is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds, studying the practice of failure in contemporary experimental poetry performance. In her work, she takes linguistic processes that are important in her everyday life, and re-interprets them as creative tasks that can be used to generate poetry. Some of these tasks use impossible difficulty to provoke “failures” which may be creatively generative. She is interested in the relationship between these creative “failures”, and Failure as we experience it in everyday life.

Her most significant recent project is Physical Culture, in which she responds to instructions to perform physical movements by asking questions. A video of this performance, and three poems produced using language from performance transcripts were recently published by Pamenar Press.

expecting a different result is her most recent book publication, a collection of forty visual poem cards that the reader can rearrange to establish different relationships. The repetitive processes of tracing, copying, folding, sewing and digital manipulation constituted a form of mourning, and the book suggests means through which we can simultaneously remember and forget. It reflects Sarah’s longstanding interest in making process and labour visible in finished works, and in finding ways to combine the experimental and the sentimental.

Sarah is interested in making experimental poetry methodologies accessible to others, enabling anybody to adapt the processes of visual poetry, collaborative poetry and experimental poetry performance for their own purposes. To this end, she has worked with the Henry Moore Institute, co-producing a booklet to guide young people through the process of making a visual poem in response to their 2021-2022 exhibition Slip. She has designed and taught a course for The Brilliant Club called ‘Inside the Poem Factory: How does the making of a poem affect its meaning?’ She is also a postgraduate teaching assistant at the University of Leeds.

To contact Sarah Dawson, you can email sarah at sarah-dawson dot co dot uk, or use the below form.