From 2011 until November 2015 I was Poet Laureate of Vermont, during which time I visited 116 Vermont community libraries, not so much to read but to talk about what poetry can do that other modes of discourse can't. I loved the Q&A the most, because those within the academy often ask things that show how much they think they know, whereas library patrons are inclined to ask the important things: Who's talking here? To whom? Why? Where? I hope my poems can answer those questions, that no one needs some special knowledge or language to penetrate them. My twelfth collection of poems, NO DOUBT THE NAMELESS, is just out, as is my fourth collection of personal essays, WHAT'S THE STORY? REFLECTIONS ON A LIFE GROWN LONG. www.sydneylea.net
1.Why do people talk so much about angels these days?
2.Why this crazy yearning for explanation? E.g. what’s the weather like out there? (Down there, up there, over there, so on.)
3. If you know the square root of a number, how does that help you?
4. Is there God or a god or gods or anyhow something?
5. Do you think I don’t have feelings too?
6. Do you find me sentimental if I think schoolchildren should be taught harmony with humans and nature?
7. What’s with the music kids like these days?
8. What do we mean by excellence when we claim we’re in pursuit of it?
9. How is it that stars twinkle and planets don’t? (I wanted one I could answer.)
10. Is altruism truly the key to contentment?
11. Which did more people watch in Elizabethan England: bear-baiting or The Tempest ?
12. What about the music you liked when you were young?
13. What’s the square root of desire– or, seriously, how account for our yearning?
14. How can people rave about these hip-hoppers while Etta James rots in her tomb?
15. Why do the good die young? Or the bad for that matter?
16. Exactly how does dialing a 1 take us beyond the local area?
17. Are there more people alive now than dead in the ground?
18. How would you define joy?
19. What about despair?
20. What is local nowadays?
21. What about desire?
22. What do you call just trying to do the best you can with what you’ve got?
23. Do you think I don’t have feelings too?
24. Do you think I’m some kind of angel?
© 2017 Sydney Lea
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