“Many of the poems in Lea’s rich new book attempt to sustain relations with a personal past defined in terms of dead friends and family members still living in the poet’s memory. . . . Because the power of memory is limited, the tone of the book is often brooding and rueful; but the repeated recollections gradually gain the force of religious ritual. Though no signs of grace are granted, we are made to feel the ritual is of vital importance.”
—Carl Dennis, Denver Quarterly
In Sydney Lea’s poems, purest joy and woe flash amid the mundane, and beauty knows the full range of nature—from the plumed tension of a newborn child twisting away from the ready breast to bright birds lying dead on the winter lawn. Many of these poems are backward looking, savoring the gentle pause at summer’s end, recalling with fledgling hope former victories of spring, seeking in the woeful host of memory something that has held its charge.
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