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Fresh Air and The Story of Molecule

John Gallas

Fresh Air and The Story of Molecule
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Categories: 21st Century, New Zealand
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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(Pub. Jul 2012)
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(Pub. Jun 2012)
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  • If you desire a larger gnu,
    you will need the shimmer from a lake
    amidst grassland. But a hill will do.
    Divide the top half into three hearts:
    cow, horse and goat. Take point X upon the hoof
    and fold the top edge, thus, upon its grunt,
    so it is roughly equal to the distance
    from the far sun that pours beneath the black clouds
    to the brown, dusty horizon.
    from ‘Six Origami Poems’: a leaping gnu
    Fresh Air is an exhilarating, freewheeling ride through landscapes and languages. The poems, all written on the move (tramping the Gobi desert, cycling in Irish drizzle, paddling in Tonga) have the fizz of travellers’ tales, the enchantment and the melancholy of the open road.

    The Story of Molecule tells the tale of Molloy Gillies (‘Molecule’), a semi-detached twelve-year-old who one night takes his bike from the shed and pedals off to escape Evolution. In Gallas’s comical, heartbreaking sonnet-picaresque, Molecule encounters dangers, kindness, police cars and mauri on the roads of the South Island, while his father, his aunt, a bathroom fitter and a police chief wonder what life, and freedom, are all about.

    Together, these two books explore a world newly discovered in the imagination: ‘Imagine: in the atlas of my soul / I could not make a thing so lovely.’

    Four Thoughts from Abroad
        1    blue sky in Porvoo...    
        2    deconstructing the Turkish flag over Diyarbakir    
        3    execution of a Chinese con man      
        4    scene seen from a plane over South Asia    
    A Poem from Home and Russia, Number 1:
    Sputnik over En Zed    
    Five P.each Pomes
        1    the price of goats’ milk    
        2    gecrong    
        3    flowers    
        4    do not    
        5    I fink    
    Two Still Lifes Painted at the Subject
        1    Ode to Autumn    
        2    banana    
    Three Site-Specific Poems
        1    poem to be read by the fire    
        2    poem to be read at a swimming lesson    
        3    poem to be read while cycling    
    Three Poems Written in Mongolia
        1    the Mongolian Women’s Orchestra    
        2    bits of Karakorum    
        3    man in a yellow del    
    Introduction and Exercise Concerning the Kenning,
    After Snorri Sturluson’s ‘Skáldskaparmál’
        1    introduction to the kenning    
        2    a simple kenning exercise    
    A Text with txt: MOT for Prisoner MH 8313    
    Five Excuses
        1    homework    
        2    wedding    
        3    listening    
        4    football    
        5    writing    
    Poem Written After a Dream Dreamed at the Exact Time of
    the Death of Luciano Pavarotti: the Apotheosis of Pavarotti    
    Poems Describing my Four Favourite Pictures in the National Gallery    
    Two Poems Written in Scotch Drizzle
        1    in the graveyard at Campbeltown with a wet beanie    
        2    the statues of Glasgow and Campbeltown    
    Two Norfolk Beach Poems
        1    sunrise at Brancaster Beach    
        2    the Golden Sands Amusements, Hunstanton, on
    St Lucy’s Day    
    Three Translations of Nineteenth-Century Folk Songs
        1    from Rolovia    
        2    from Doppland    
        3    from Briagon    
    A Poem from Home and Russia, Number 2: the Cold War    
    Four Transexualised Poems
        1    Brother, Awake !    
        2    Simplex Munditiis      
        3    Hear, ye Menfolk     
        4    The Mermen’s Song    
    Poem Inspired by a Vacuum Cleaner: vacuuming sunshine    
    The Complete Yellow Bestiary of Tragley Bizumpoi
    (b. Bologna 1621–d. Pin’Shen 1639)
        1    the Canary-bird.    
        2    the Peruvian Fly    
        3    the Mongol-Goose    
        4    the Yellow Sallys    
        5    the Seawasp    
        6    the Sulphur Butterfly    
        7    the Urobat    
        8    the Kinkajou    
    A Poem Concerning my First Memory: babybathoughts    
    A Sonnet for my Cat    
    A Poem with the Name of Every Child in the World In It:
    flags of all nations    
    Six Origami Poems
        1    Derry Railway Station    
        2    Elvarethilion     
        3    a leaping gnu    
        4    Korotangi    
        5    the Golden Gate Bridge    
        6    resectoscope    
    A Poem Written in Sickness: love on a yellow bedspread    
    A Poem Written Completely in the Dark: lights in water    
    A Sonnet Fit Against Adventure by the Hobbit Barley
    Quagtrout, Who Once Went as Far as the White Downs,  but Did Not Like Them    
    A Poem Written While Walking in the Fresh Air and Drizzle
    with a Piece of Paper and a Pencil Near Campbeltown in Scotland: on Davaar Island    
    Eleven Ideas for Poems    
    A Poem Written While Tramping in the Fresh Air on Mount Robert, St Arnaud, New Zealand: the balance    
    A Poem from the Darkling Days of Samuel Beckett,
    Written in a Hole in the Turf at the Top of Lugnaquilla
    During Hail: in a womb, I think …    
    Three Great Scientific Ideas Clearly Explained in Poetry
        1    Natural Selection    
        2    Black Hole    
        3    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity    
    Two Poems Written on Empty Islands
        1    the yellow-blinded fale, Manono, Samoa    
        2    Sark    
    A Poem Written by the Light of Rockets on Fireworks Night: death and fireworks    
    A Poem Written While Riding an Irish Bike: Knock Knock    
    Figures of Peach, Pear and Plum
        1    alliteration    
        2    anaphora    
        3    epiphora    
        4    antithesis    
        5    parallelism    
        6     apostrophe    
        7    assonance    
        8    chiasmus    
        peaches to pears
        9    euphemism    
        10    hyperbole    
        11    accismus    
        12    litotes    
        13    catachresis    
        14    metaphor    
        15    metonymy    
        16    onomatopoeia    
        pears to plums
        17    oxymoron    
        18    paradox    
        19    personification    
        20    antanaclasis    
        21    simile    
        22    synecdoche    
        23    zeugma    
        24    tetracolon climax    
    A Poem Written While Walking in the Fresh Air and Rain at Vester Cove, Donaghadee    
    Eight Possible Fragments of Wasit Huraira’h (fl. c. AH 700–710)
        fragment 1    
        fragment 2    
        fragment 3    
        fragment 4    
        fragment 5    
        fragment 6    
        fragment 7    
        fragment 8    
    Two Dances in the Fresh Air
        1    at the standing stones at Baltray, Co. Louth    
        2    on the Heaphy Track, near Karamea, New Zealand    
    A Haiku with an Explanatory Note    


    1      Molecule leaves home    
    2    he goes back for his bike    
    3    Dad wakes up    
    4    Molecule spends the day asleep    
    5    Tahuna Beach     
    6    Mr Gillies goes to the police    
    7    Molecule reaches Nelson Cathedral    
    8    dawn at Atawhai    
    9    Dad and Auntie Jack talk    
    10    Molecule is seen near Cable Bay  
    11    nearly nearly near Hira     
    12    Molecule gets blown over    
    13    his dream on Whangamoa Saddle    
    14    Molecule spreads the word    
    15    Mr Gillies wraps his Christmas presents    
    16    Molecule eats at the Something Oven    
    17    Molecule is confirmed alive by a day-person    
    18    Molecule goes for a swim    
    19    he visits the giant totara    
    20    at Richmond Community Policing Centre    
    21    Molecule sees some hunters and fishers at the pub    
    22    life at the Richmond Community Policing Centre    
    23    Molecule’s breakfast and wound    
    24    Nana Gillies goes to bed    
    25    how things are    
    26    no publicity please    
    27    what Mr Gillies knew about his son    
    28    sex on a windy road    
    29    what Molecule’s heart told him    
    30    chased by a helicopter at Momorangi Bay    
    31    how he was    
    32    the Picton Ferry    
    33    on the foreshore    
    34    elevation and balance     
    35    an argument overheard     
    36    Jeff visits Wig and Steff    
    37    Jesus lights in Blenheim    
    38    and out the other side       
    39    Molecule is sighted sleeping in a vineyard tractor    
    40    his chain comes off    
    41    Molecule’s dream    
    42    Jeff Gillies sends a deceptive e-mail    
    43    a fast ride to Ward    
    44    the e-mail is received    
    45    Christmas thoughts at Atawhai    
    46    puncture and capture    
    47    what should Molecule do?    
    48    taken    
    49    home again    
    50    Nana gets the news    
    51    home alone    
    52    Mr Gillies’ note and swim    
    53    same thing, different direction    
    54    another missing person    
    55    another night at Rabbit Island    
    56    Sunday the 21st of December     
    57    because he’s mine    
    58    feast at Mapua wharf    
    59    Nana comes Christmas shopping    
    60    a lighted window    
    61    Ruby Bay    
    62    an accidental headline    
    63    Motueka    
    64    near Riwaka    
    65    and this is God    
    66    a hop story    
    67    on Takaka Hill    
    68    Happy Christmas    
    69    look no brakes    
    70    friends    
    71    a Takaka bride    
    72    clean the next night    
    73    clean too    
    74    Saturday at the Springs     
    75    Patons Rock like     
    76    chookfeed     
    77    sick and sought    
    78    death of a bike    
    79    what they had to do
    80    1st interview with Amy Steffert    
    81    a knight without a horse    
    82    1st interview with Amy Steffert (2)    
    83    at the old graveyard in Excellent Street    
    84    1st interview with Amy Steffert (3)    
    85    Collingwood-watch    
    86    New Year’s Eve    
    87    stars and people    
    88    the motel    
    89    Molecule escapes just in time    
    90    money    
    91    eaten by things    
    92    off road    
    93    DS Baigent understands     
    94    wall    
    95    Fossil Point    
    96    Jeff and Jack look at a holiday brochure    
    97    Molecule stays a second night at Fossil Point    
    98    tourists    
    99    was Molecule the cause of the Picton Ferry suicide?    
    100    incitement ?    
    101    Molecule walks to Pillar Point lighthouse and Cape Farewell    
    102    Dad thinks again    
    103    Nana Gillies spends time    
    104    Molecule agoraphilia    
    105    DS Baigent and the bloody phone    
    106    evolution extinguished    
    107    haere ra goodbye
    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 ... read more
    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
     'An enticing and timely collection of translations.'
    - The Guardian

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