John Gallas Poetry


Laika and doctor







'the greatest New Zealand poet no one has ever heard of' (Spinoff)






poem for June 2019



I tracked down the doctor who had been the last person to say goodbye to Laika

before she died in the TV lounge of the old people's home in Sestroresk



'I haven't blinked for forty years

the blinds are green


and tears.


Ssh the TV makes me cry

The Earth is on tonight

blue and bright



Round and round the Quiet Room

past a shining past a  

faster faster

booom !


Floating on a pair of cushions

greenly disappearing

tiny cheering



O what weightless wonder when we

tumble tongue-tied whirl

you lucky girl

you're free.


And o my heart is starved with pain

no where no air no help

bow-wow yelp-yelp

in vain.


My eyes go dim and wherefore why

I never blink to see

my heart set free

to die.'


The chair re-entered where she fell,

the blue world turned and turned

the bones and burned

like hell.


I paid to have her soul cremated.

It doggedly defied

the flames. I cried

and waited.






What's Afoot ? Top Ten


1. Look for & Book for John Clare celebration workshops with JG in Peterborough. 6/8/27 and 29 June - The Meeting : Reading and Writing through John Clare - go to Libraries & Archives What's on in Peterborough and choose one at :

2. Won the 'Voices of Israel' Reuben Rose Poetry Competition with 'At the Funeral of a Ploughman' - see Facebook etc.

3. 'The Extasie - 50 love poems - now completed, and with Carcanet, awaiting a decision.

4. 'Here They Come ! 200 Loaded Tankas Delivering Goodness Fresh to Your Doorstep' (yup, a collection of 200 tankas, syllables long) also completed. Bunches appearing in STAND and other magazines next year.

5. A sequence of little poems, 'The History of Mid Wales', written there, is due out in the forthcoming 'PN Review'.

6. 'Foggy Identities in Paterau' just out in 'The Friday Poem' (Luncheon Sausage Books NZ - see above.)

7. To complete the Year of 3 Books, 'Mad John's Walk' still available from Five Leaves ( and '17 Pacific Poems' from Indigo Dreams (

8. Won the National Association of Writers Group competition with 'At That Leicester Cafe', and the Earlyworks Poetry Competition.

9. The Blood Book, the tale of my ancestors from 10,000 BC to me, is now finished. To be published in NZ, 2019.

10. Go to STAND magazine's website ( for 4 love poems, and, forthcoming, more translations of Joachim de Bellay and some nutritious Tankas.


Complete Book List

Practical Anarchy (Carcanet)
Flying Carpets Over Filbert Street (Carcanet)
Grrrrr (Carcanet)
Resistance is Futile (Carcanet)
The Ballad of Robin Hood and the Deer (Agraphia Press), pictures by Clifford Harper
The Ballad of Santo Caserio (Agraphia Press), pictures by Clifford Harper
The Song Atlas (Carcanet)
Star City (Carcanet)
The Book with Twelve Tales (Carcanet)
Fucking Poets (3 vols) (Cold Hub Press NZ)
40 Lies (Carcanet) pictures by Sarah Kirby
Fresh Air & The Story of Molecule (Carcanet)
52 Euros (Carcanet)

Pacifictions (Cold Hub Press NZ)

The Alphabet of Ugly Animals (Magpie Press)

Mad John's Walk (Five Leaves : Occasional Pamphlets) January 2017

The Little Sublime Comedy (Carcanet) now out

17 Very Pacific Poems (Indigo Dreams) now out

The Extasie ... here's hoping



John Gallas Poetry


Carcanet blog

John Gallas Facebook

Cold Hub Press (NZ)

Five Leaves publishing/bookshop (Mad John's Walk)

Agraphia / Clifford Harper

YouTube (Paterau Sonnent / The Blobfish Sings Under the Sea)

STAND Magazine

Indigo Dreams publishing

Spinoff (NZ)

The John Clare Society (facebook and 'contact us')



Mmm ...:
"I'm not convinced mankind is worth the trouble to improve. I'd rather go to Samarkand" - 'James Elroy Flecker at the Automatic Restaurant, Berlin Railway Station 1908'



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