John Gallas Poetry


Mmm ...:
"God accommodates our happy lies" - 'Umm Lahai Sonnet'

Kanak head















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


Poem for August 2021


Return of The Skull, from the Anthropological Society of Paris to Kanaky, 2014


‘Here is your head back,’ says M. Pau-Longevin.

‘Sorry’. On the plane it looks out the window

at the long forest-floor of ghost-cloud-night,

unfazed by intercontinental flight.


‘What have you done with your brain ?’ says Mr Kawa.

‘Oh,’ says the head, ‘They lost it somewhere’.

It turns back to the darkling window. ‘It was 9.3,

you know, on the ‘Scale of Savagery’.’


Coming in to Kanaky, Mr Kawa leans over,

lays his hand on the frontal-bone,

and looks fondly down

at the forest canopy’s deep-green crown.


‘Home,’ he says. The forehead clonks on the plexiglass.

The pines and palms rise and rise to their feet.

Their million-lobed leaves signal and pulse. The earth is black.

Fasten your seatbelts. Welcome back.


(published in 'The Gnawing Flood', now available from Cerasus Publishing - see Top 10, note no.8 for link)




What's Afoot? Top 10

1. 'The Extasie', 64 love poems, now out, with its wonderful cover (and contents!). Available to buy at all good bookshops, or order from Amazon and/or A SUNDAY TIMES SUMMER READ RECOMMENDATION (see also Financial Times Literary Supplement).

2. SLG Publishing in Oxford have accepted my translations of 25 Amado Nervo poems: proofs have arrived already - the fastest book-making ever! And it may be, perhaps, the first of a small series of Contemplative Poems in translation. Due out later this year.

3. Just written the Blurb for forthcoming Carcanet Classics vol. of my and bro's translation of Petrus Borel's 'Rhapsodies 1838'. Due out 2022.

4. 'Aotearoa/Angleland', a selection of 30/30 tankas to be published by New Walk Editions. Just working on proofs and cover.

5. 'Meet the Author' is now on the Carcanet blog :

6. a 'translation' of the Middle-Scots 'Buke of the Howlat' now complete: possibly for the libretto of an Alasdair Nicolson opera/masque/cantata. See

7. Look out the for FOUR GRID-PAPER PICTURE-POEMS (Proust, T.E.Lawrence, Basho & Henry Flynt) published online by the very wonderful Otolith Group ( : and for '4 Machine-Made Poems' in the next edition of STAND

8. 'The Gnawing Flood', a book of 28 anti-colonial poem-prints now out from brave and exciting Cerasus Publishing. Order @ The Gnawing Flood: Gallas, John: 9798592286063: Books

9. John Rylands Library Manchester Online Exhibition : the creative process of a John Gallas poem, 'Somewhere down Hurdletree Gate' - visit @

10. Completed : a set of online workshops called 'Write Like a Saxon' for the Sutton Hoo Saxonship Project ( JOIN IN - and meanwhile sponsor a rivet at the website address! This wonderful project is also about to exhibit a CGI film of the ship in action accompanied by a reading of my Saxonship Poem no.10, 'On the Water'. Poems 11 and 12 on the way.


Complete Book List - we have reached 24 !

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) 2018

17 Very Pacific Poems (Indigo Dreams) 2019

The Blood Book (Gerolstein Press)

The Gnawing Flood (Cerasus Publishing) 2021 - out now, see above No.1.

The Extasie (Carcanet) - due out April 2021 - see above.

*Petrus Borel 'Rhapsodies', translated from the French by John & Kurt Gallas (Carcanet Classics) - due out 2022

*Aotearoa/Angleland' - 30 + 30 tankas from my two lands (New Walk Editions) - autumn/winter 2021

* 'Amado Nervo: Poems of Faith & Doubt' - SLG Publishing, Oxford. Due out late this year.



John Gallas Poetry

Carcanet Press

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Cold Hub Press (NZ)

New Walk Editions

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 Project

The Sutton Hoo Ship Build (Sponsor that Rivet)




Return of the skull


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