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Review: Claiming Kindred, by D. M. Black

Claiming Kindred is D.M. Black's first book of poems since his . He writes with a generous heart, wisdom and at times humour. This volume's opening poem is a moving tribute to both his scientist father and the beauty and wonders of nature which can be rationally explained, yet also experienced with apparently redundant emotion. While he knows about chlorophyll, pollinators and so forth, he sings of how nature causes the heart to respond with an ecstasy that does not beget children. He also writes of his father's four-year absence on duty in the Second World War, the strain this put on his mother, and of the couple's lives, compromised for the sake of their children, on the father's return. Black records with humour a visit to an attractive young woman doctor, love and sex in older couples - and the poem that he has been rewriting all his life, a plea for his mother's attention. A witty, satirical sequence sees Birmingham as much a character as a place. The poet reflects on humanity on the eve of the Iraq War, but his philosophy is an optimistic one: I know I cannot fall / Out of connectedness. It is this sense of connectedness that gives his writing affirmation, depth and truth.