Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Salt Modern Poets
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
198 x 129mm

The Dumb Messengers


This book collects shorter and lyrical poems Goodland has written over the last ten years. During this period he started a family, and many of the poems reveal an attitude to life and language that has been profoundly influenced by the presence of children.

Goodland believes most language is a waste of time, a failure. Anything really new or meaningful that anyone has to say will probably be misunderstood or ignored.

For Goodland, poems are dumb messengers, unable to tell us what they need to say, even though they rush into our minds urgently. This book is about failed or lapsed communication, particularly between adults and children. It tells us, a failed message is still a message, and there is hope in that.

The Dumb Messengers of the title are also children. They come from the other world to tell us something, but instead we teach them language and, in consequence, they forget or become unable to tell us what the message was.

Reviews of this Book

‘Giles Goodland, makes nonsense of the old us-and-them tussle between experimental and mainstream that so occupied the poetry battles of the last decades, with his poems that are variously lyric, or avant-garde, and sometimes both; often inflected with surrealist play, and an interest in formal constraints.’ —Todd Swift

‘A poet with a truly international appeal.’ —Michael Hulse

‘Goodland is one of those rare writers whose mix of experimentation and play is ... as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.’ —Steve Spence

‘A world-class poet.’ —Peter Finch

‘Relentlessly pushing past a sufficient encounter with its methods of sampling and splicing, Capital inundates us with the broken messages, cant, and convention to which we are equally subjected when not reading poetry—and when not reading at all. The volume’s thirty poems of roughly thirty stanzas suggest that there is no outside, no place or time or form where we are not in capital and the histories it has made.’ —Geoffrey O’Brien