John Gallas Poetry


Maria Spiridonova













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


poem for July 2018


Reality Check !

This poem is from ’40 Lies’ (Carcanet 2010) : each poem in the book is inspired by a single line from some obscure source, and the Event, ie. the poem, created by Imagination alone, with no Facts checked beforehand.

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to measure the ‘facts’ of the poem here, against the true facts of the Assassination (Wikipedia will do you nicely), and ponder on the made- up world, its dangers and delights. Glorious fake, or stupid misrepresentation ?


'In January 1906, Maria Spiridonova assassinated

Police Inspector Luzhenovsky’

(from ‘Revolutionary Russia’ p.136)


Luzhenovsy leaves the meeting late.

He slams some doors. Security is tight.

It trots around his legs. His face is white.

Some Angry Thing. Annoyances of State.

He stomps, they patter, down the concrete stairs.

She waits. A pistol in her glove. Some cars

pull up. She shoots him BANG BANG BANG. The stars

look blankly down. He bursts. He falls. She stares.

Thank God, one ogre less : the scale of Love

budges down an inch. Thy Kingdom Come.

Security attacks her legs. A scrum

of headlights, shadows, cries. She drops her glove.

Thy Will Be Done. Her boot-heel splinters. Thud.

The stars go out. The gutter floods with blood.



What's Afoot ? Top Ten

1. Just returned from a second residency at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris. A sequence of little poems, 'The History of Mid Wales', written there, due out soon in 'P N Review'.

2. NZ Night ! Reading with Vaughan Rapatahana @ Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham, in early July. Date and time to be confirmed : see/keep up with (

3. '17 Very Pacific Poems' published by Indigo Dreams is now available : see (

4. 'The Little Sublime Comedy' now out from Carcanet. See schedule and catalogue, and order from

5. To complete the Year of 3 Books, 'Mad John's Walk' still available from Five Leaves (

6. Won the National Association of Writers Group competition with 'At That Leicester Cafe'.

7. Won the Earlyworks Poetry Competition.

8. Look out for Interview and poems Back Home (NZ) @ SPINOFF ( courtesy of Bill Manhire.

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

10. Go to YouTube for 'The Blobfish Sings Under the Sea'. 'Down Tallapike', 'Funeral at Salem'.


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



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

Mmm ...:
"Trust in God but tie up your camel" - Persian proverb

the real Spiridonova


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