Wednesday, November 20, 6:30 p.m.
Sydney Lea, former Poet Laureate of Vermont, founder and longtime editor of the New England Review, will read from Here, his thirteenth collection of poetry and twentieth book. Lea will be joined by poet and Middlebury College teacher Karin Gottshall.
Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow.
In Here, Lea gives voice to the deep connection between human life and the natural world as well as their fragility and transience. Here, nature is as much a muse as a trigger for sense memory—as a schoolboy on a playground “breathing in autumn mud, / that cherished aroma” or as witness to a redtail hawk’s attack and the aftermath during which “That poor doomed duckling’s wisps of down / Floated in air like snowflakes, /Diaphanous.” Death is a constant presence in these poems, too, arising from the bittersweet awareness of what eventually will be lost.
Lea will soon publish The Music of What Happens: Lyric and Everyday Life, his collected newspaper columns from his years (2011-15) as Vermont Poet Laureate. He has been active in literacy efforts and conservation, especially in Maine, where the land trust he chaired until 2018 conserved nearly 400,000 acres of working forest.
Karin Gottshall is a poet and educator. She teaches poetry writing at Middlebury College, and directs the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf. Her second book, The River Won’t Hold You, won the Ohio State University Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize in 2015. Recent poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, FIELD, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere.