The Human Project: New & Selected Poems
Puncher & Wattmann $27.95 pb, 205 pp
If despair and desolation can be said to have had a high point in poetry in English during the modern era, it is in T.S. Eliot’s poetry, particularly ‘The Hollow Men’. While reading Martin Langford’s remarkable The Human Project: New & Selected Poems, I was reminded of other poets whose reputations depend upon the discomforting poems they have written. The until recently neglected American poet Weldon Kees, who may or may not have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955, wrote about the underside of the American dream, its sterility, in a tone of unwavering bitterness, but his noirish imagination and technical brilliance make the poems compelling. Something similar could be said of the English poet Peter Reading, whose expression of undiminished anger is a result of his disgust with humanity, and its condition terminal, though his pervasive self-righteousness can be wearing.