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Review: Claiming Kindred, by D. M. Black

Written in long, metrical lines, [Claiming Kindred] is in effect an elegy to his South African father, but there is nothing sombre about it. It is luxuriant with stunning imagery appropriate to its setting: I walk today in Kew Gardens, in sunlight the colour of honey ... how well he captures the sheer transcendence of the seasonal cycle, and the prodigality of Nature ... There is nothing sentimental about Kew Garden. It highlights the remembered conflicts and tension between the poet and his father, which had to do with their disagreements about the precise nature of the scientific world-view... The Bumble Bee in its entirety is an unforgettable riff which both celebrates the golden colour at its most dazzling and identifies how yellow became so sinister for those affected by it in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.
Black's Britishness emerges strongly in a poem like Thirteen Ways of Looking at Birmingham, and his South African roots in Mombasa, 1948, but A Couple in Coigach is very Scottish in its exploration of a Highland landscape often associated with Norman MacCraig.