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Man in Black

David Caddy

"These are runic translations out of the woodlands, out of the fields, out of folktale and gossip, into modernity"

John Kinsella

The extraordinary latest collection by Dorset poet David Caddy, dubbed ‘the Robert Frost of the Blackmore Vale’.

These poems are brimming with radical intent, drawing from a rich and varied lineage. Coleridge, Donne, Johnny Cash and the Renaissance alchemists John Dee and Robert Fludd are more than literary namedrops here – they are visionaries, true ‘men in black’, embodiments of dissent and an uncompromising search for answers.

Man in Black presents a startling vision of the countryside in decline, of ‘absent Dorset folk’ marginalised and repackaged for the tourist industry. In this vision, historical flashbacks and the ghosts of ‘men in black’ jostle for position with the contemporary; the learned with the lived. And all characterised by Caddy’s probing, visceral poetic language. Together with his previous collection The Willy Poems, Man in Black presents Caddy’s preoccupations with the outsider, the esoteric and the rural poor, confirming his reputation as one of England’s most significant poets of place.

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RRP £8.99
Please note: due to the recent change in tax regulations, we are currently unable to ship to EU countries.
64 pages
ISBN 9780955384639
Published 1 November 2007
Cover design: PITM


The incantations and damnations of Caddy’s poetry are at full tilt … These are runic translations out of the woodlands, out of the fields, out of folktale and gossip, into modernity, into the doubts and occlusions of the urban. There’s mystery here, and a desire to explain the absences, to rediscover lost ‘home’. The book is like an ancient script that throws light on who and what we’ve become, and how. It comes out of the oppressed land.
John Kinsella

Who else could bring together the spirits of John Donne and Johnny Cash in one collection? In Man in Black, David Caddy, a quintessential poet of place, rakes through the gloss and plump of a Botoxed modern world to find what’s been lost. These poems echo like footsteps in an abandoned mill; haunting, mortal poems that face the human condition head on.
Lori Jakiela

David Caddy reaches forward, breaks the bounds of what is possible within the short poem, [taking] the reader to a new place altogether. The visionary quality in these poems [is] astonishing in its range, its depth, its complexity.
Poetry Salzburg Review

Caddy has provided another important contribution to ecological literature. It is clear that Dorset is the portion of earth for which Caddy feels responsible. And Caddy speaks for it confidently, with pulsing anaphora, watchful litanies, and studied allusions.
Janelle Adsit, Pedestal Magazine

Caddy’s exploration of Dorset history and landscape draws playful, illuminating parallels between the past and the present, and comments powerfully on the decline of the village.
John Field, Poor Rude Lines

About the author

David Caddy is a writer, critic, literary sociologist and historian. He lives and works in rural Dorset from where he edits international literary journal Tears in the Fence. He was co-author of London: City of Words (2006) with Westrow Cooper. Man in Black is his eighth book of poetry and follows the highly regarded collection The Willy Poems. David is a long-standing promoter of poetry. He founded the East Street Poets in 1985, which he ran until 2001, and directed the Wessex Poetry Festival from 1995 until 2002. David currently blogs/podcasts at So He We Are; a collection of his online essays is forthcoming in print. He is a regular contributor to The Use of English.

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