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John Gallas

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  • John Gallas was born in New Zealand in 1950. He came to England in the 1970s to study Old Icelandic at Oxford and has since lived and worked in York, Liverpool, Upholland, Little Ness, Rothwell, Bursa, Leicester, Diyarbakir, Coalville and Markfield, as a bottlewasher, archaeologist, and teacher. His books are published by Cold Hub Press (nz) and Agraphia (Sweden), and The Little Sublime Comedy is his tenth Carcanet collection. He is the editor of two books of translations – 52 Euros and The Song Atlas – also published by Carcanet. He is a Fellow of the English Association and was 2016 Orkney St Magnus Festival poet.
    John Gallas was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1950, and was a child in Richmond, Tahunanui, Nelson, Lake Rotoiti, Mount Robert and St Arnaud. He then went to Otago University in New Zealand, and won a Commonwealth Scholarship to Merton College, Oxford to study medieval literature.

    He settled in England in 1973, living in York, Liverpool, Shropshire, Rothwell and Leicester, and now lives in Coalville, Leics. He works for the Leicestershire Student Support Service, teaching permanently excluded schoolchildren.

    In 1987 he threw away everything he had written, and started again. A prize in the National Poetry Competition led to the publication of his first collection with Carcanet Press, Practical Anarchy. Then followed Flying Carpets Over Filbert Street, Grrrrr, Resistance is Futile, The Song Atlas (ed. - a translation of one poem from each country in the world) and Star City.

    His minor obsessions number Central Asia and Mongolia, camels, cycling (with the Complete Coasts of Britain and Ireland done), kinds of anarchism, swimming, Fellini, Beckett, Cormac McCarthy, Schnittke, tramping, T.E.Lawrence, sitting breathless on the tops of mountains, and writing poetry.
    Praise for John Gallas 'John Gallas is not merely a lyric master, but a master of meaning... The Extasie is a collection that I feel I will be coming back to frequently, not just to recapture the enjoyment I had when first reading it, but also to fully bathe in the complex understanding of love in all its forms, rendered so skilfully in poems that reward a second reading with subtle epiphanies.'

    Ed Bedford, Coffee Time Reviews

    'This is a book for contemplative reading to enjoy all its richness and subtleties. Quietly thought provoking and intelligent, these are poems that celebrate the messiness of life.'

    - Mary Mulholland, The Alchemy Spoon
    'The greatest New Zealand poet no one has ever heard of.'
    - Spinoff
     'One of the UK's most fascinating poets ... hilarious.'
    - Yorkmix
     'An enticing and timely collection of translations.'
    - The Guardian


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