broadsheet editor/publisher Mark Pirie writes on John Gallas's work and his history of publication in the Preface:
"I first came across Gallas’s work when I was in London in 2005. A friend had shown me the astonishing global poetry anthology Gallas edited, The Song Atlas (2002). I looked up his name in Foyle’s Bookshop, thinking he was a UK poet. They had some of Gallas’s books there, including his first collection Practical Anarchy (1989). Reading his bio closely I discovered he was born in Wellington in 1950. I bought the book immediately and subsequently now have all of his collections.
I enjoy Gallas’s sense of the absurd. His surreal and fantastical humour and anarchic wit appeal to me along with his control of traditional forms (the ballad, the sonnet) and the more modernist/postmodernist structures in his recent work.
Yet Gallas doesn’t appear in Oxford’s 1997 An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English (despite appearing in Landfall in the 1980s) and not all of his books are held by the National Library of New Zealand. However, his first work was published here: A different drum, or, How to blow your own trumpet in twelve easy to read pages, with Robin Murray (printed at the University of Otago Bibliography Room, 1971).
In recent years, poet and academic Bill Manhire has done much to rectify this. Gallas was included in Manhire’s 121 New Zealand Poems and Gallas’s work has been in Sport and in the IIML’s Best New Zealand Poems series online. This year Gallas also published a three volume trilogy of chapbooks, F***ing Poets, through Roger Hickin’s stylish Cold Hub Press in the South Island, with funds from the sale given to help the Canterbury earthquake recovery.
It’s great to be able to feature Gallas in broadsheet 8 and help further recognise his work in New Zealand. Through my own work on Gallas, the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA) now has a full collection of his books in their online catalogue.
Elsewhere I’ve continued broadsheet’s eclectic policy of inviting different poets to appear in each issue. Mary McCallum, Chris McCabe, Cameron La Follette, Roger Hickin, Yilma Tafere Tasew and Craig Cliff appear here for the first time along with a poem by the late Rex Hunter.
Hunter (1888-1960), a writer and journalist (who left New Zealand as a young man), had a reputation overseas in the States and so far has mostly fallen through the radar here despite an attempt to remedy this in the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature (1998). It’s hoped Hunter’s poetry will become more widely known in New Zealand in the future.
Mark PirieWellington, November 2011"