Vermont's Poet Laureate Passionate About Poetry

sydneyleaBRADFORD - Sydney Lea has been writing for a large portion of his life, and he was named Vermont's Poet Laureate in 2011. Lea lives in the Northeast Kingdom, where he resides in Newbury, but he came from a much different background.  Born in Philadelphia in 1942, Sydney has lived all over the world, from a fellowship he took in 1988 in Siena, Italy, to his time spent teaching in Budapest, Hungary or Lugano, Switzrland.

A poet laureate is appointed by a government official, where they are expected to compose poems for special occasions and events for the state.  Lea has been writing since being named, but doesn't believe it's a job that's going to require too much of him.

"It's more of an honorary title," Lea said.  "But I was appointed by Governor Shumlin and there was a ceremony held for my inducting, so it was really special to me."

Lea attended Yale College before he went on to teach at prestegious schools such as Dartmouth and Middlebury College.


Since receiving his title, Lea has been traveling all over the state to public libraries sharing his work, and speaking about his love for writing.  "I've enjoyed that a great deal," Lea said.  Lea also said he's visited almost half of the state's libraries, and is hoping to visit them all.  "I really believe in what a library does for a community, and I'm even apart of my library in Newbury."

Although he hopes to visit all of the states libraries, Lea understands that technology is changing the world of books and poetry.  "I publish a book in e-format too because that's how people are reading these days.  I enjoy having a physical book because I enjoy the feeling of it, but I think that generation of people aren't around anymore."

Lea understands that there isn't a strong following of people who read poetry, but is hoping that people who do read his work, can take something away from his work.  "I'd like to think I can take my poetry to a non-specialist context where people who are not necessarily inclined to read poetry can get something out of what I've written."

Lea just recently turned 70, and even when his term as poet laureate is up in 2015, he has no plans of stopping what he loves to do.  "Right now I feel as vigorous as a writer as I ever have," said Lea.  "I don't feel as vigorous as a body as I once did, but as a writer I feel as vigorous and able as I ever have.  I don't know where I'll be four years down the road.  I hope I still feel that way and I'll continue to write because it's something I love to do."