Co-winner of the prestigious Poets' Prize for his collection To the Bone, Sydney Lea is known for his mastery of the narrative style and his clear and unwavering vision of the natural world and humanity's place in it. His latest work, Pursuit of a Wound, is marked by this acuity and by his uncanny ear for language as well as his willingness to speak for the unlucky and the dispossessed.
Delving in equal measure into the flinty northern New England landscape and the exiled souls of ordinary people, Pursuit of a Wound moves beyond Lea's previous work to explore new poetic strategies, including some that approach prose poetry. Combining a free-ranging sensibility akin to Whitman's with a keen attention to verse's formal possibilities, this collection of twenty-eight new poems evokes a beautiful and threatened place and ratifies Lea's status as heir-apparent to Robert Frost.
"For Lea, the world has--even with its obvious shortcomings--an abundant capacity to touch us. It is this capacity that he extols and recreates." -- Leora R. Zeitlin, American Book Review "Never sentimental or mawkishly confessional, [Lea] writes honestly about his own loss of hearing and insomnia and his need for 'happy pills' (Zoloft). Lea is equally comfortable, it seems, with tragedy or beauty, and therein lies his considerable strength... Written in a new style of verse blocks and prose poetry, this is a highly moving and accessible work, strongly recommended for all larger poetry collections." -- Library Journal "'How little it took to turn me sentimental. How little it takes me still.' Verbatim dialogue, laconic musings, self-interruptions, givings-up and quiet goings-on all mark Lea's seventh collection... Lea's plainspoken New England voice has benefited from its multi-genre development, making the poems here easy in diction, resistant to lyric flights and focused on making sense of things." -- Publishers Weekly "[Lea's poetry] is elegiac, sad yet redemptive, and succeeds either shaped into free or traditionally formal verse." -- Hudson Review "Hats off to a master poet." -- Carl Little, Maine Times "[Lea] finds the beauty in pain and loss. His use of language and imagery, mixed with a New England backdrop of forests, rivers, and small-town life brings fragments of the ordinary, and not so ordinary, to life... Lea's experience is intricately woven into poetic, almost prosodic, narratives, which touch the universal... [His poetry] is lyrical at times, and at others, painfully honest, bleak, and hopeless straining for hope among the ashes of human existence." -- Robin Travis, "Poetry Pavilion," Universe.com