David Macleod Black was born in South Africa in 1941 and moved to Scotland in 1950. He was brought up in St Andrews. He has degrees in philosophy from Edinburgh University and in Eastern Religions from Lancaster; in the later 1960s he taught philosophy and literature at Chelsea Art School in London. He went on to train as a psychotherapist at Westminster Pastoral Foundation and then as a psychoanalyst with the British Psychoanalytic Society. He now works in London.
He published four collections of poetry and a handful of pamphlets in the 1960s and 1970s; his work was included in Penguin Modern Poets 11 (1968). Collected Poems 1964-87 was published by Polygon in 1991. Love as Landscape Painter, translations of the Roman Elegies and other poems by Goethe, appeared from Fras Publications in 2007. Claiming Kindred (Arc), his first original collection for 30 years, was published in 2011. He has also published on psychoanalytic topics, most recently Why Things Matter: the place of values in science, psychoanalysis and religion (Routledge 2011). He edited Psychoanalysis and Religion in the 21st Century: competitors or collaborators? (Routledge 2006).