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Sydney Lea. Four Way, $15.95 trade paper (148p) ISBN 978-1-945588-40-2

Lea (No Doubt the Nameless) weaves a graceful tapestry of personal history while expressing his trademark wonder at the natural world in his quietly powerful 13th collection. His memories are not grand in scale; he recalls watching his daughter spill a glass of milk on a train, teaching his son to ride a bike, and schoolboy shenanigans such as a “slew of idiot tricks” pulled on a Latin instructor—yet these scenes become significant through Lea’s telling. In “Cavaliers,” the poet recalls spending a night in the hospital after suffering chest pains, and sharing a room with a man who had been there for a month: “How long, I mused, can a person be patient?” This poem gives way to “Gratitude,” in which Lea musters tolerance for petty inconveniences, like taking the dog to the vet or shoveling snow, viewing these acts as gifts. Interspersed with Lea’s musings on his life are his luminous descriptions of the world around him, including the “elegance and composure” of a flock of circling vultures, and a first blush of spring “with snowdrops glinting, the freshets making their evanescent cascades through the woods.” The refrain of aging and death echoes throughout and is tempered by Lea’s gentle optimism and appreciation for every facet of life. These poems provide readers with a potent antidote to hopelessness. (Sept.)