SYDNEY LEA was Poet Laureate of Vermont from 2011-2015. His most recent collection of poems, No Doubt the Nameless, is available from Four Way Books. His fourth collection of lyrical essays, What’s the Story? Short Takes on a Life Grown Long, was published in 2016 by Vermont’s Green Writers Press, which in 2017 produced Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poets, an anthology he co-edited with his successor as state poet, Chard deNiord. The same publisher has scheduled The Music of What Happens: Lyric and Everyday Life, News that Stays News, a collection of newspaper columns on poetry, composed during Lea’s laureate tenure for fall of 2018.

Lea founded New England Review in 1977 and edited it until 1989. Of his twelve previous poetry collections, Pursuit of a Wound was one of three finalists for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The preceding volume, To the Bone: New and Selected Poems, won the 1998 Poets’ Prize. In 1989, Lea also published the novel A Place in Mind with Scribner, soon to be re-issued in paper by Red Hen Press. Growing Old in Poetry: Two Poets, Two Lives (Autumn House, 2013), his collaborative book with Fleda Brown, former Delaware Poet Laureate, is available in e-book format. The author’s longtime fascination with upper New England and its vanishing traditions is recorded in A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters and Wildlife, (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012).

Lea has received fellowships from the Rockefeller, Fulbright and Guggenheim Foundations, and has taught at Dartmouth, Yale, Wesleyan, Vermont and Middlebury Colleges, as well as at Franklin College in Switzerland and the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. His stories, poems, essays and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and many other periodicals, as well as in more than fifty anthologies. He lives in Newbury, Vermont, and is active both in literacy efforts (Central Vermont Adult Basic Education, Inc.) and in conservation (Downeast Lakes Land Trust).

Lea has been described as “a man in the woods with his head full of books, and a man in books with his head full of woods.” His affection for story, moreover, an affection derived in no small measure from men and women elders in New England, colors his poetry, just as a relish for the musical properties of the word colors his prose. His lifelong passion for the natural world informs almost his every utterance.

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