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Star city - John Gallas

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Star city
John Gallas
Paperback / softback
Carcanet Poetry
UK Publication Date

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.

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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.

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