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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2004)
John Gallas's new book is two volumes in one.
The Coalville Divan builds on the poet's fascination with Eastern literature which he tends to experience in Leicester and its environs, where he lives and works. These poems ponder a number of his besetting themes. How dull is Wisdom, then? What it wants is Ungathering. The Coalville Divan makes moral, miniature movies out of the great scripts of old Persian sages, each of the one hundred sonnets returning a proverb to the particular lives, moments and places that made it. These little, colour narratives put Life back up there with its Meaning.
Volume two has its mind on different things. If Beckett comes before Oort, and Fellini is next to the Unknown Soldier; if Alfred Schnittke can almost touch the muezzin who was a tape recorder, and William Bees VC is three steps away from a Mongolian marmot-killer, then it must be Excellent Men. Here are the lit-up males of a writer's heart, claimed by admiration, kinship, amazement, love, poetry and a good laugh. Each to his own.
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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