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Review: The Arrow-Maker, by D. M. Black

From the outset The Arrow Maker leaves you in little doubt of the mastery of its author; the poems have a consistent quality which is perhaps peculiar considering that the whole collection can be seen as something of a treatise on doubt itself.


One of the recurring notes struck by the collection is one of withering criticism of humankind for its despoliation of the world. Black deftly avoids making his poems sound preachy, however, as they come out of a scientific, factual awareness of what is happening to the earth. Black is no simple augur of doom, but a passionate observer of the threatened things of the planet.


Black's is also a challenging and illuminating poetry that does not speak down to the reader, but aims at all times to raise the bar and stimulate critical thinking or plant the seeds of a healthy doubt. As Carole Satyamurti has suggested, these poems give the impression of the poet writing to search for answers and that the composition of the poems themselves is a form of epistemic and existential quest, the answers not necessarily being the most important aspect of the journey.