Sydney Lea Books

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Growing Old In Poetry

Two Poets, Two Lives

A collaborative with Fleda Brown

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Sydney Lea and Fleda Brown, past poets laureate of their respective states and both nationally recognized writers who’ve given their lives to their art, have conspired to write an unusual book of essays. They’ve picked a wide variety of topics and headed out as they wished with each, covering a lot of territory, both artistic and memoiristic. Some of the pieces, like “Wild Animals,” are downright silly; some, like “Sex,” “Music,” and “Food,” are provocative; some, like “Clothes,” “Sports,” and “Houses,” appear ordinary but are ultimately revealing. The final essay offers, from each, a personal look at how a poet lives and writes in this troubling time. The excitement of this collection is in the details—how lives are lived and poems written over time, and at last, an entire body of work as witness.

Green Writers Press

Roads Taken

Contemporary Vermont Poetry

Co-edited with his successor

as Poet Laureate Chard deNiord

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No Doubt the Nameless

by Sydney Lea

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What's The Story?:

Reflections on a Life Grown Long

by Sydney Lea

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I Was Thinking of Beauty

by Sydney Lea

Click to Order from Four Way Books

A North Country Life

Tales of Woodsmen Waters and Wildlife

by Sydney Lea

Click to Order from Skyhorse Publishing

The story of my connection to family, friends, and the northern outdoors. Organized by the changing of seasons, featuring essays on topics like childhood family fishing trips in the wilds of Maine, trophy fly-fishing the northern reaches of the Connecticut River, the opening day of turkey hunting season in Vermont, and getting lost in the deep woods while deer hunting. The book also recalls vanished mentors, men and women who inhabited upper New England before the advent of power tools and electricity.

Bringing to life the outdoors as seen through different eyes, inspiring you to take a new look at the world around you.

With 24 b/w illustrations

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor

New York, NY 10018

A Hundred Himalayas

Essays on Life and Literature

by Sydney Lea

Click to Order from University of Michigan Press


The book comprises a selection of my essays from over 40 years, representing what Flannery O'Connor called persistent "preoccupations" (as opposed to theory). I hope each speculation may be a small Himalaya, that with others it achieves some elevation by way of its increments. The essays muse on my favored American genius, Robert Frost, on the workings of imagination, on the American nature essay, on rural existence, but perhaps chiefly on fitting one's own literary life into his everyday life.


University of Michigan Press

839 Greene Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3209


Six Sundays Toward a Seventh

Spiritual Poems by Sydney Lea

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by Sydney Lea

"The life in Sydney Lea's poems is entirely local, whether the locale is Italy, Montana, or his home in Vermont . . . The making of the soul that occurs in Sydney Lea's poems is intimately connected with the place where the making occurs . . . Sydney Lea's poems show us that all spirituality is local spirituality. He is our preeminent poet of the soul's making among local places and people."

.........................- Mark Jarman

..........................Author of Bone Fires:

.......................... New and Selected Poems

Young of the Year

by Sydney Lea

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...............................................- Maxine Kumin

A Little Wildness:

Some Notes On Rambling

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by Sydney Lea

Sydney Lea is as fine a companion on the page as American writing about nature has to offer.

-Michael Pollan, Harper's

What does a good long ramble in the woods tell us about our shared experiences, our loneliness? Is it possible to shed our civilized layers of defensive behavior, our fear of unmasking and discovery, of the unknown or once-known but forgotten? Join celebrated outdoorsman and poet Sydney Lea as he walks off into his beloved New England woods on a vision quest that touches everyone who reads along to keep him company. One's own shape-shifting powers come into focus in the light of Lea's surprising discoveries and revelations.



Ghost Pain

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by Sydney Lea

"Wonder: Red Beans & Ricely" from Ghost Pain

won a Pushcart Prize.

Singer of stories, lyric raconteur, Sydney Lea has evolved—through a long, rich career—into one of America's most harrowing and honest poets. Ghost Pain is his most eloquent and wrenching book. This poetry implodes categories. If we must give it a label, let's call it talking blues. If we must describe it with a single word, let's call it heartbreaking.

-T.R. Hummer

To say that Ghost Pain offers us glimpses of an "examined life" would be too tepid. Lea's poems—with their heavily freighted, measured talk—enact a journey into and finally through self that is both unsparing and urgent. They give honesty back its good name by demonstrating that it must be hard won, achieved. It's a remarkable book, which takes his work to a new level.

-Stephen Dunn

No matter how I bushwack on my rambles

so that from aerial view each might resemble

a rabbit's beat, a maze, an ampersand

(I turn myself, I turn my thoughts around)....

Pursuit of a Wound

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by Sydney Lea

(Finalist, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2001)

“Sydney Lea demands attention, He weaves a close, intricate picture best described as the New England of his own mind.... Lea is a fine regional port, in the same sense that Frost was first and foremost a poet of place.” - Publishers Weekly

"[Lea’s poetry] is elegiac, sad yet redemptive, and succeeds either shaped into free or traditionally formal verse.” - Hudson Review

"Hats off to a master poet.” -Carl Little, Maine Times

Sydney Lea is known for his mastery of the narrative style and his clear, unwavering vision of the natural world and humanity's place in it. His latest work, Pursuit of a Wound, is marked by this acuity and by his uncanny ear for language as well as his willingness to speak for the unlucky and the dispossessed.

To the Bone

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by Sydney Lea

(Co-winner, The Poets’ Prize, 1998)

Hunting the Whole Way Home

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by Sydney Lea

"A first-rate outdoor memoir of one of our most distinguished contemporary American poets. It's a highly entertaining, beautifully written, and searingly honest account of a lifetime of hunting and fishing experiences ... It is especially good on grouse and trout, fathers and sons, marriage, and enduring friendships ... a book to be treasured by everyone who values what remains of our precious natural world."

-Howard Frank Mosher

"These tales and essays about one man's explorations of the natural world, in the company of a vivid series of guides-including woodsmen, children, even a few animals are fresh as spring, and equally intoxicating."

-Michael Pollan, Harper's

A Place in Mind

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by Sydney Lea

"A Place in Mind carried me spinning up back eddies, drifting through the layered currents of this intensely moving account of northern water, distance, separation. It's full of brilliant images and strange poetic details, and the quality of writing is superb -- so good it hurts to read it.... A Place in Mind is a wonderful book."

-E. Annie Proulx

"Sydney Lea has a special affection for the world, especially the outdoors, but time is the stream in which he is fishing. There is something thorough and substantial and gracious here, something with the long reach of other eras. It's a book with freight: a friendship, love, bodies of water, and the smell of wood smoke. A Place in Mind took me forward and backward through the stations of being a man.... And the tour was touching and elegant."

-Ron Carlson

"Far and away the most exciting and best-written novel to come out of New England since Ernie Hebert's The Dogs of March. It's rich with fishing and hunting lore, believable, gritty upland characters, a splendid evocation of McLean, and a carefully-developed theme of unending friendship based on shared values."

-Howard F. Mosher


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Indie Bound

By Sydney Lea

Vermont Poet Laureate 2011-2015

P. O. Box 9

Newbury, Vermont 05051

(802) 866-5458...

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