The poems in Vanessa Lampert’s new collection are lodestars. How lucky to be guided by them. In this book nature is more than an encounter to wonder about, it is a binding– both to our home here on earth, the dailyness, joy and loss of that, and to our own corporeal selves. For anyone looking for the words to what it means to be human look no further: they are here.
Vanessa Lampert has a rare talent for telling stories which, although they come from a place deeply personal to her, become universal in their rendering. These are poems which welcome us in like old friends, full of warmth and generosity, and which have the sudden ability to switch gears – and with them, our emotions – in just a few short lines or phrases. Say It With Me is a remarkable first collection of poems, a book infused with darkness and light, beauty and sadness, humour and ultimately, hopefulness.
In Say It with Me Lampert’s observant and witty voice accompanies us through subtle turns in thought, redirecting our attention with a glance, a clearing of the throat, so that we step from the scenery of life, into the resonant emotional landscape of living. Her poems open the aperture and expose us to the loss that time is always enacting upon us, its cruelty and its beauty.
Vanessa Lampert is a chronicler of minute but crucially significant moments; she holds them to the light to find their gleam and then shows them to us as stunning jewels. We enter one of her poems on the familiar ground of a summer beach or an ordinary municipal park, and leave years later, often having communed with those we’ve lost. What she accomplishes may seem simple, but the seismic shifts of our lives are packed into her humming lines. Her poems are like a fairground on the final night of the season – we want to clasp onto their joy and celebration that bit longer.
The soul of Vanessa Lampert’s poetry is a high drifting generosity, a restless journeying through air and light: it descends into recollected darknesses, joys, miracles, and lifts again, consoled and consoling, out into streaming sky. It encompasses English years, English shires, English losses. Its lyricism is earned, its wit profound, its wisdom worn lightly. It is like an archive set free to be scattered afresh, to begin again, as if it had the grace and craft to heal all that was to follow. Lampert is one of the most enthralling new poets writing in – and of – the great aftermath of England.