An Introduction to Gioele Galea by Kristina Marie Darling

In these spare, singing poems, translated from the Maltese by noted poet Abigail Ardelle Zammit, Gioele Galea weaves together philosophy, theology, and the lyric with effortless grace. Here, the poetic image becomes a doorway to necessary questions about the nature of solitude, community and the self. I’m moved by Galea’s ability to trust in the power of his imagery, to let the carefully curated sensory details in these poems transform into a rich tapestry of imagination and meaning. Zammit translates faultlessly with the care and sensibility of a true poet.

Gioele Galea read theology at the University of Malta.  For fourteen years he led a solitary life in a hermitage.  He has published seven collections of poetry, including Ifrixli Ħdanek Beraħ (Malta: PalPrints Publications, 1996), Dija (Malta: Carmelite Institute, 2012), Bla Qiegħ’ (Horizons, 2015), Għera (Malta: Horizons, 2018), Ilma (Malta: Horizons, 2022), all of which give witness to an uncompromising spiritual journey where bareness is as overwhelming as it is essential.  Galea has also published two prize-winning hybrid memoirs, Tħabbat Xtaqtek (Malta: Horizons, 2017) u In-Nar Għandu Isem (Malta: Horizons, 2020).  His poetry has been translated into English and Arabic. 

Abigail Ardelle Zammit is a Maltese writer and educator whose poetry and reviews have appeared in international journals and anthologies including Matter, Tupelo Quarterly, Boulevard, Gutter, Modern Poetry in Translation, Mslexia, Poetry International, The SHOp, Iota, Aesthetica, Ink, Sweat and Tears, High Window, O:JA&L, The Ekphrastic Review, Smokestack Lightning (Smokestack, 2021) and The Montreal Poetry Prize Anthology 2022 (Véhicule Press, 2023).  Abigail’s poetry collections are Voices from the Land of Trees (UK: Smokestack, 2007)and Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin (London: SPM, 2015).  She has co-authored two bilingual pamphlets (Half Spine, Half Wild Flower – Nofsi Spina, Nofsi Fjur Selvaġġ) and written A Seamus Heaney guidebook for high-school students.  Her most recent manuscripts have been shortlisted for the Cinnamon Press Literature Award 2022, the Tupelo Press open reading period 2022, the 2023 Sunken Garden Poetry Chapbook Prize and the 2023 Snowbound Chapbook Award.  Leaves Borrowed from Human Flesh is forthcoming with Etruscan Press, Wilkes University.