Say It With Me


by Lampert, Vanessa | Literature & literary studies
Paperback | 72 pages

SKU: '9781781727010 Categories: ,


Rooted in everyday communities, the voice of Say It With Me is wry, candid and knowing, offering poems that playfully record the foibles of domestic life. There are curious stories: a parrot flies away but always returns to its master, a school bully becomes their victim’s acupuncture patient in adulthood, and a donor finds new kinship with the woman who receives his cells. All these stories are gems full of curious twists and turns.

Often the poems represent specific places and people, sometimes nostalgically so, like memories of family beach trips with loved ones now deceased. Others are flights of fancy: imagining a park of one’s dreams, an ode to the small pleasures of life, or inventing a new history where a father didn’t die young. Most significant however are the poignant and remarkable stories of family life. There are happy portraits as well as thoughtful poems concerning divorce and parenthood, also the body in triumph and decline. Though speakers take up a watchful distance from events, they are also fierce and unafraid to intervene. A middle-aged woman on the beach wades into the sea to chastise some lads playing with an inflatable sex doll. ‘Say it with me’ a line taken from the poem ‘Canada’ is a phrase that often precedes a rallying cry, or a brave but controversial factual statement. The tales in this collection feel true and honest and its title is a call to unite. This is a collection about the communities in which we live and the interconnectedness of human beings. The likeable speaker of these poems surveys it all with the dry humour and wisdom of an older woman, posing scenarios that we can all recognize as authentic. Ultimately, Vanessa Lampert uses deep and rich storytelling to lay bare truths that are at once funny, moving, and illuminating.

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