D M BLACK


Biography

D.M. Black (David Macleod Black) was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1941. He was brought up in South Africa and Tanganyika until the age of 8 and thereafter in Scotland. He has degrees in Philosophy from Edinburgh University and in Eastern Religions from Lancaster, where he studied under Ninian Smart.

In the late 1960s he taught at Chelsea Art School, where he became friends with the painters John McLean and Ken Kiff and the poet and art-historian Martha Kapos. He lived for a time in Japan and with the Findhorn Foundation on the Moray Firth. Aged 30 he settled permanently in London, working first as a psychotherapist and later a psychoanalyst. He is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society.

In the 1960s and 70s Black published four collections of poetry as well as several pamphlets; he appeared in the Penguin Modern Poets series in1968. Much of this early poetry was narrative, initially somewhat surreal but becoming increasingly psychological as time went on. The narratives became longer and longer: his fourth collection,
Gravitations, consisted almost entirely of three narrative poems, the longest, 'The Hands of Felicity', about 30 pages long. In 1991 he published a Collected Poems, with an Introduction by James Greene, well-known as a translator of Osip Mandelstam.

After a long interval, in 2006, Black published a collection of translations of Goethe (including the Roman Elegies in their entirety), entitled
Love as Landscape Painter, and in 2011 a collection of original poems, his first for many years, entitled Claiming Kindred. In this, the interest in narrative has given way to more reflective pieces. In the same year he published a collection of essays on psychoanalysis and values, Why Things Matter: the place of values in science, psychoanalysis and religion.

His essays on literary matters have not been published in book form. He has written in particular on twentieth-century Scots poets including Robert Garioch, George MacBeth, Hugh MacDiarmid, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan, Robin Fulton Macpherson and others. Between 1999 and 2008 he was a frequent poetry reviewer for the magazine Poetry London. He has written on several occasions with particular admiration about Richard Wilbur, an important inspiration and influence; one of these essays is included on this website.