New Hampton School welcomed Vermont 2011 Poet Laureate, and Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Sydney Lea this week for visits with New Hampton School English classes, faculty, and the community. This unique oppportunity helped students connect their reading and course work with an in-person experience. A highlight of the week occurred when Mr. Lea joined us on Thursday to share his story and answer questions about his life as a writer and published author.
Prior to Mr. Lea's visit, English faculty shared a selection of his poems with their students and they had an opportunity to discuss them as a class. When Mr. Lea arrived, they were anxious to ask questions about his journey, inspiration, themes, and style.
Mr. Lea began by sharing with students how he came to be a poet. He helped make his journey accessible to students through examples and advice that might resonate with different individuals. He spoke about the hours and hard work needed to hone a craft, whether it’s hours of reading and writing to become a published author, or hours at the gym or on the field training to become an athlete.
After a brief introduction and idea exchange, the presentation opened into a question and answer session so that students could delve into areas of interest. The natural world came up as a common theme that students acknowledged and Mr. Lea spoke about his childhood and the profound impact his time exploring the Maine wilderness had on him growing up.
Mr. Lea shared more of his adult journey as well, the influence of other adults, teaching at Dartmouth and other universities, and publishing poems and writing. Not only did he share great knowledge with us, but he was also a wonderful storyteller who offered an engaging and informative presentation to students that allowed for an enriched academic experience through his outside perspective.
Several curious students—and faculty—spoke with Mr. Lea one on one following his presentation to thank him for his time and explore further questions.
To complete his visit to New Hampton School, Mr. Lea, the father of our very own school counselor Erika Lea, had lunch on campus with his granddaughter Ruthie.