In the tradition of noted modern poetry voices, the likes of a Peter Filkins coming to mind, E. Barrett La Mont has this wondrous ability to make the everyday exceptional. Anne Sexton is another contemporary name that comes to mind – complimenting referentially in comparison Mr. La Mont’s uncanny ability to share things painfully personal. It’s rare that such admissions literarily and otherwise work. “I meant to say some things today/To talk of cabbages and kings
To tell you about the little boy in me/And the songs I love to sing. I should have talked about the things I love . . ./The places that I’ve been, The beauty that I’ve seen in falling leaves . . . And in sailing with the wind. I meant to say a lot of things, But I never found the time . . ./I hoped you’d see these things in me, And read between the lines,” he writes in the new anthology, titled The Things I Meant to Say. In La Mont’s case, there’s something that makes him more viscerally trustworthy given his capacity to share.
There’s not a sense that he’s preaching to a choir exclusive to his inner friend circle. He’s able to enable a big tent ideologically and viscerally, while drawing from very personal sentiments. To me, that is the mark of a true writer or literary voice. Everyone distinguished enough can write something third-party, objective, somewhat removed from immediate, interpersonal experience. Someone who can simultaneously do this while able to shift into making the interpersonal have the qualities of something third-party, objective, somewhat removed is truly indicative of a pro.
“I began writing love poems in my 20’s, poems come to me naturally. I was motivated to write love poems to my first wife. Poems come to me in the middle of the night, and I go and write them down,” Mr. La Mont has stated in a press release. “…Poems express the joy, wonder and heartbreak of a relationship…the journey of one’s life…My readers, followers, spur me on to write…I am a descendant of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I read her poems in high school and in college began writing poetry.”
It’s clear from Mr. La Mont’s own sentiments on the record that poetry is in the man’s blood. Some things can’t just be learned. Plus, you can tell there’s a personal love there to boot. Mr. La Mont isn’t just doing this from a place of profession, he’s doing it from a place of personal integrity. And because you get a sense everything he writes is reflective of a personal principle, there’s a warm affability there. A sense, not to overuse the term, of interpersonal and vulnerable, creative expression. This is evident in how Mr. La Mont cites the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the press release statement, simply put: “Oh, say, the children, we are weary, and we cannot run or leap…if we care for any meadows, if we were merely to drop down in them and sleep.”
“This poem by Elizabeth,” states La Mont, “summons up our concern for human rights when children were working in factories and mines in England.”