Monday, April 9, 2012

Sydney Lea on Community Library Visits for "Burlington Free Press"

The poet laureate of Vermont and Four Way Books author, Sydney Lea, talks about visiting community libraries and writing poetry in the Burlington Free Press.

"I’ve especially enjoyed that audience members at the libraries tend to ask not the allegedly sophisticated questions, which I’ve heard more than enough of in four decades of professorship; their questions are more basic — and thus more important, in that they represent concerns that everyone feels on contemplating a poem for the first time: who’s talking? why? where? And so on. For my taste, too much current poetry can’t answer those questions on the page, and even as a lifelong lover of poetry, I turn away from such obscurantism.

The most frequent questions I hear, however, involve form and meter. There are those who wonder if something can be called poetry if it does not have a regular meter, regular stanzaic shape, and often as not, a rhyme scheme.

Now I am a formalist myself, something not all that common in our day (though I think and even hope this is unobvious when I read, because I pause in my recitation when the grammar does, not when a line does). I even use a goodly amount of rhyme and half-rhyme. And yet I employ these tools merely because they enable me, not because they represent capital-P Poetry."

Here is the rest of the article. To learn more about Sydney Lea's book Young of the Year, visit us online. While you're there, be sure to check out our more recent books as well.