The Man in the White Suit 29 Apr 1999

Winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection
Poetry Book Society Recommendation

An exiled poet in an English seaside asylum… A winter night spent in the spooky penthouse suite of Ceausescu's vanished daughter… A scientist trying to calculate the heart's square root… All these figure in The Man in the White Suit, Nick Drake's first full-length collection.

It portrays and celebrates a richly varied cast of characters whose secrets and histories are the central thread of the book, ranging from life studies of those caught out by exile from central Europe or caught up in the strange aftermath of the 1989 revolutions, to intimate love poems and portraits of those learning the arts and mysteries of dying.

Some of the poems from this book feature on Tansy Davies's album Spine. More information is available here.


"Nick Drake's début collection is subtle, funny and tremendously moving. He has an eye for the small detail as well as the big picture. These poems brilliantly evoke time and place… This is a collection that will resonate long after you have finished reading it"
Jackie Kay

"Nick Drake shows a talent for capturing the suffering and loneliness of people, and the instantaneousness of events…His Czech roots and friendships with AIDS victims add particularity and worldliness to his elegies and love poems"
Sarah Wardle, Poetry Review

"Culturally eclectic and socially engaged, The Man in the White Suit is exciting stuff…a highly effective wit with a serious agenda"
Peter Lawson, Times Literary Supplement

"Nick Drake's first collection is impressively rich in character and narrative, bringing together a haunting array of mysterious figures and stories… Never sentimental, he is especially good at loneliness, absence and exile"
Jamie McKendrick & Maura Dooley, PBS Bulletin