Dicks takes the reader into fantastical, yet convincing worlds to explore our darkest secrets and inner conflicts - in Black Tooth Fish there is the sometimes tortuous nature of desire, death is examined in Blossom, in Buffet a disaster benefits those who aren't the victims, in Doppelganger - the protagonist comes to terms with the painful experience of being ghosted, Owl Rising - is an exuberant giving into to the lack of control we experience in life and The Loaded Gun details a quasi-sexual attitude to violence.
This is an unflinching and clearsighted collection, in which our most intimate concerns are explored and addressed head on, in charged, beautifully wrought and fiercely original poems.
These are poems which address the perhaps irresolvable conflicts, questions and dilemmas in our life - this is a book for anyone who has ever felt vexed.
'In Vexed, Z D Dicks pulls titan, shaman, alchemist and fantastic beast into a realm where the natural and manufactured coalesce. Our guide through this landscape of petrol rainbows, metal tongues and acid storms is a poet enraptured and enlightened by the beauty and awe of the unusual and terrific. His strict eye always on his deft organic verse; Germanic, alliterative and mythological, but always placed in the painful present'.
-R M Francis
'The poems in Zack Dicks's Vexed are not ones you would want to curl up and get cosy with. The language is visceral and sometimes startling, the images precise and unexpected. In 'Doppelganger', his 'double rides a hog roars through streets / chugs and judders with goggled fly eyes'; and I suspect this is how to experience Vexed. Don't examine each line or image, buckle up and enjoy the ride.'
'Vexed introduces an exciting new poetic voice. In language which crackles and fizzes, the collection offers us a range of subjects, drawing on everything from Brexit-era Britain to Classical myth. I'm particularly taken with explorations of the natural world in this collection: in poems like 'Falcon Drive' and 'Black Tooth Fish, ' the poet proves himself adept at fashioning a language which thrillingly gives us the world of beasts. Powerful and distinctive, Vexed announces a writer to watch.'
'These poems bring to mind every apocalyptic painting I have ever seen. In dark reds and golds they are bone black-box theatres all painted with muscular language. Here, we see Diogenes the beggar, pull a half-eaten sandwich from a city bin and a man stripped down to his bones being eyed by dogs. Tread carefully in this vexed and shaken world when one trip on the platform could send you plummeting to hell's fiery tarpits'