John Gallas Poetry


Mmm ...:
"The man is sometimes smaller than the child" - 'Dhar Sonnet'

Kanak mask



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




Poem for June 2024

trouble in Kanaky



(from 'Wasted by White Men', book published by Cerasus Poetry)


Return of The Skull

from the Anthropological Society of Paris

to Kanaky



‘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.








1. Publication date CARCANET new book OCTOBER 2024: re-designed and re-named - 'Billy 'Nibs' Buckshot: The Complete Works' - his (my?) 200 tankas. Proofs etc completed.

2. PNReview No.277 just out: with 'Mondo de Melankolio' - my translations of short poems from Iceland, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and Jewish/Germany. The 4th in an ongoing series.

3. Busy co-editing, with Vaughan Rapatahana, a volume of Aotearoa/NZ ex-pat poets/poetry to be called 'Te PÅ«rere'/'The Flight'. We are nearing a final collection, with thanks to the many expat Aotearoa/NZ poets who have responded.

4. Just completed the translation of all available Hans Davidsohn (Jakob van Hoddis) poems. Around 50 in all, tellingly short (mostly). The poet was murdered in Belzec in 1942, aged 55 ('vanHoddis' an anagram of 'Davidsohn').

5. Won the Wells Festival Poetry Prize with 'horsebreezes': a very welcome £1000. And a 2nd prize in the Welsh Cambrian Mountain Poetry competition, along with a Bournemouth Festival 'place in the anthology' 'A Line in the Sand') and a 3rd prize in the Oxford 'Taste' Poetry Competition.

6. (See no.2) - producing, for each forthcoming issue of PNReview, a small set of 5 translations of short poems by writers from all places and periods: called MONDO DE KVAR ANGULOJ ('World of 4 Corners' in Esperanto) : 'Arboj' (Trees) , 'Macino' (Machines), 'Dormo' (Sleep) in PNReview 274-6, Set no.4, 'Melankolio', now out.

7. My translation of Reinhard Sorge's (1892-1916) complete poems has just come out from SLG Press, Oxford. for contact/orders/buying.

8. A fab & wonderful review in the Times Literary Supplement of my & bro's 'Petrus Borel: Rhapsodies 1831' translation/book (Carcanet) - 'rivals the original' and 'a reliquary of gems'. Available to read online, or buy September 30th 2022 TLS.

9. Work in Progress: 'Fork Flats', a group of 35 poems that, upon reading, build up into a picture of an 'otherwise' society, a kind of jigsaw-puzzle for the reader: and some translating of Boris Vian poems, fresh, jazzy, informal and cool ...

10. 'The Extasie', 64 love poems, now out, with its wonderful cover - and contents, of course. Available to buy at all good bookshops, or order from Amazon and/or

***** it is ...

A SUNDAY TIMES SUMMER READ RECOMMENDATION (see also Financial Times Literary Supplement) and a fab review from 'coffeetime' ('love poetry at its best') - read at


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)

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

The Extasie (Carcanet) 2021

Amado Nervo: Poems of Faith & Doubt (SLG Press, Oxford) 2021

Aotearoa/Angleland: 30+30 tankas (New Walk Editions) 2021

Petrus Borel 'Rhapsodies', translated from the French by John & Kurt Gallas (Carcanet Classics)

The High Roof of Heaven (Anglo-Saxon poems transl. JG) (SLG Press, Oxford) 2022

Where Grace Grows Ever Green (Middle English poems transl.ed JG) SLG Press, Oxford) 2022

17 Paper Resurrections (from graveyards in mid-Wales: picture-poems) (Dempsey & Windle 2022)

Drops in the Sea of Time: Poetry of Woman & God (SLG Press, Oxford 2022)

Fly Not Too High: Holy Sonnets of Gabrielle de Coignard & Vittoria Colonna (SLG 2022)

This Far Place: poems of Gabriela Mistral (SLG 2023)

Touchpapers (SLG 2023) Contemplative Poetry series No.11 (SLG 2023)

The Poems of Reinhard Sorge (SLG due out 2024)

* The Alphabet of Ugly Animals (Cerasus Press) - due out 2024

* Billy 'Nibs' Buckshot: The Complete Works (Carcanet) - due out October 2024



John Gallas Poetry

Carcanet Press

Carcanet blog

John Gallas Facebook

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)

SLG Press (Series of Contemplative Poetry)

Dempsey & Windle, publishers of '17 Paper Resurrections'



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