Sarah Maguire left school early to train as a gardener with the London Borough of Ealing (1974–77). Her horticultural career has had a significant impact on her poetry: her third collection of poems The Florist's at Midnight (Jonathan Cape, 2001) brought together all her poems about plants and gardens, and she edited the anthology Flora Poetica: the Chatto Book of Botanical Verse (2001). She was also Poet in Residence at Chelsea Physic Garden, and edited A Green Thought in a Green Shade, essays by poets who have worked in a garden environment, published at the conclusion of this residency.
Maguire was the first writer to be sent to Palestine (1996) and Yemen (1998) by the British Council. As a result of these visits she developed a strong interest in Arabic literature; she has translated the Palestinian poets Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Zaqtan and the Sudanese poet, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi (2008). With Yama Yari Sarah co-translated the Afghan poet Partaw Naderi (2008); their translation of A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by the leading Afghan novelist, Atiq Rahimi (Chatto & Windus, 2006) was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007.
She is the only living English-language poet with a book in print in Arabic - her collection of selected poems, Haleeb Muraq (Dar-Al Mada, 2003), was translated by the leading Iraqi poet Saadi Yousef. Maguire is the founder and director of the Poetry Translation Centre, which opened in 2004.
- 2008: Cholmondeley Award
- 2001-03; Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London
- "Passages". The Guardian. London. 8 August 2005.
- Spilt Milk. Secker & Warburg. 1991. ISBN 978-0-9511023-3-6.
- The Invisible Mender. Cape Poetry. 1997.
- The Florist's at Midnight. Jonathan Cape. 2001. ISBN 978-0-224-06213-8.
- The Pomegranates of Kandahar. Chatto & Windus. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7011-8131-4.
- A Green Thought in a Green Shade: Poetry in the Garden. Poetry Society. 2000. ISBN 978-1-900771-26-9.
- Flora Poetica: The Chatto Book of Botanical Verse. Chatto & Windus. 2001. ISBN 978-0-7011-6922-0.
- Haleeb Muraq (Selected Poems). Saadi Yousef (trans.). Syria: Al-Mada House. 2003.
- Atiq Rahimi (2006). A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear. Yama Yari (trans.). Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-7673-0.
- Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi (2008). Poems. Sabry Hafez (trans.). Enitharmon/Poetry Translation Centre.
- Partaw Naderi (2008). Poems. Yama Yari (trans.). Enitharmon/Poetry Translation Centre.
- Susanne Ehrhardt, Paul May, Lucy Anne Watt, Robert Crawford, Sarah Maguire and Mark Ford (1989). New Chatto Poets: Number Two. Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-3393-1.
...The opening poem, "The Grass Church at Dilston Grove", inspired by an artwork which sowed grass seeds all over a disused church in London's docklands, encapsulates the strengths of this book. The diligent description of the scent and appearance of the living grass and the abandoned building gives way to self-contemplation, then to beautifully deployed rhythms of ritual incantation, and finally to a moment poised perfectly between self and oblivion: laden with the inevitability of death, yet balanced perfectly by quiet, determined, resourceful life.
...The ‘magical thread’ in The Bell Jar is suggestive in terms of the recurrent imagery of Sarah Maguire’s fourth collection, The Pomegranates of Kandahar (and Maguire begins with an epigraph from Plath’s ‘The Bee Meeting’ – a clue to the pervasive presence of the American poet throughout the book.) At the close of ‘Solstice’, Maguire writes ‘Because I have lost you, I must take up this thread’...This kind of stitching together has been seen before, most obviously perhaps in another poet who shares Maguire’s botanical and ecological preoccupations, Michael Longley.
- "Sarah Maguire | Cross-Fertilisation: Poet in Residence at the Chelsea Physic Gardens", The Poetry Society.
- "Translators | Sarah Maguire", Poetry Translation Centre.
- Robert Potts (21 July 2007). "All this time on my knees — The Pomegranates of Kandahar by Sarah Maguire review". The Guardian. London.
- Fran Brearton. "The Pomegranates of Kandahar by Sarah Maguire review". Tower Poetry[dead link].