Seen from All Sides: Lyric and Everyday Life

This book is a compendium of newspaper columns Sydney Lea composed in his tenure as Vermont Poet Laureate. He says he hopes these columns will continue to be of interest to poetry lovers and students, but above all to the common reader. Seeking at every turn to avoid jargon, he explores how the making of a poet’s art resembles the making of any reader’s life. For Lea, poetry and everyday life are deeply entangled.

Praise for the Poetry of Sydney Lea
“Sydney Lea has always been a poet equally eloquent and wide-eyed before reality.”–Jane Hirshfield


As the title suggests, these columns—deliberately plainspoken, resolutely egalitarian—look at poetry “from all sides.” Lea’s anecdotes, musings on craft and composition and local vignettes ratify his point about the value of lyric to everyday life.—The Hudson Review

“. . . a rich array of meditations on everything from slam poetry to the collision course of Western imperialism with Islamic fundamentalism. The author has quite a few bones to pick with academic elitism in particular. Lea juggles such diverse subjects in a refreshingly readable style: Although his approach is rooted in erudition, you won’t find any dense literary jargon here. Instead, Lea illustrates his prose with a wealth of plainspoken wisdom garnered over the decades he’s spent living in rural Vermont. . . . it demonstrates the author’s profound dedication to poetry and to forging connections across borders both geographic and linguistic. Ultimately, Lea himself is “seen from all sides” in this volume: as the generous neighbor, the grouchy formalist, the Guggenheim Fellow who judges the local spelling bee and a true ambassador for the written word.” —SevenDays (Link)

About Sydney Lea

Sydney Lea was Vermont’s 2011-2015 Poet Laureate. He has published numerous books in multiple genres, among them Pursuit of a Wound, a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He is the founder of New England Review and has been awarded Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Guggenheim fellowships. He has taught at Dartmouth, Yale, Wesleyan, Vermont, and Middlebury colleges, as well as at Switzerland’s Franklin College and Budapest’s National Hungarian University. 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. His twentieth book, and his thirteenth collection of poems, Here, appeared from Four Way Books, NYC, in late 2019, and his mock-epic graphic poem, The Exquisite Triumph of Wormboy, in collaboration with former Vermont Cartoonist Laureate James Kochalka, is due in autumn of 2020. He lives in Newbury, Vermont, and he is active both in community literacy efforts and in environmental conservation.

(Photo: M Robin Barone)

160 pages; Paperback Original
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-1-7320815-0-5
Publication Date: May 10, 2021

Distributor: IPG; also available through Ingram, Follet/Baker & Taylor, and other wholesalers.
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