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Review: Claiming Kindred, by D. M. Black

David MacLeod Black, who was born in South Africa in 1941, was a prolific poet in the 1960s and 1970s - he was included alongside Peter Redgrove and DM Thomas in Penguin Modern Poets II in 1968 - but this is his first collection since his Collected Poems 1964-1987 appeared in 1991, although his work has been included in many anthologies, including British Poetry Since 1945, edited by Edward Lucie-Smith, The Faber Book of 20th Century Scottish Poetry, edited by Douglas Dunn, and Emergency Kit, edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney.

It's not that he disappeared off the face of this earth; he worked as a psychoanalyst, translated Goethe and continued to publish poems in Poetry London, the TLS and Modern Poetry in Translation.

But poets, like everything else, come in and out of fashion and he was no longer fashionable enough for Penguin, Picador or Faber to publish.

Now Arc, an enterprising small press established in a converted textile mill at Todmorden, Lancashire, by Tony Ward in 1969, whose books have often been reviewed on these pages, has brought out his new collection in which he tackles the big themes of life, love and death - with a nod to Goethe, Rilke, Shakespeare and Yeats - with a touch which is admirably light.

How could he love
What could die and leave him to remember? He clung to himself,
he clung to something
Obscure, essential, like the shipwrecked non-swimmer
Clutching the seaweed-clad rock, seeing evidence everywhere
Of the tide's rising, and denying it.

He has a wry sense of humour -

Imagine being poor bloody Jerusalem,
Unsmilingly screwed by three inexhaustible lovers.
Wouldn't it be better to be Birmingham?

- and in his best poems, such as The Bumble Bee, The Young Woman Doctor, Pregnant Woman, St Johns on Patmos, Lindisfarne: The Ruined Priory in Sunlight and Reflections on the Eve of the Iraq War, he reveals not just his technical but his emotional, imaginative and intellectual gifts, too.

Arc is one of four poetry presses - Enitharmon, Flambard and Salt are the others - to lose its Arts Council funding in the latest round of coalition-inspired cuts.

They need - and deserve - your support and you could start by investing in a copy of this remarkable book.