James K. Baxter, ed. John Weir

James K. Baxter: The Selected Poems

210 x 148mm
8 June 2023

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James K. Baxter (1926–72) was, as he once described Louis MacNeice, ‘the most human of poets’: a flawed, passionate, complex, haunted man, a ‘lively sinner’ who revealed himself fully and unapologetically in his poems. As editor John Weir has written in his introduction, ‘from his various quarrels with God, self, society and death emerged a body of work which reveals him to be not merely the most accessible and complete poet to have lived in New Zealand, but also one of the great English-language poets of the twentieth century.’

John Weir’s definitive selection of James K. Baxter’s best poems has been made from the more than three thousand poems that comprise his literary legacy.

'Essential reading. This may be the most accessible selection of Baxter's work yet produced.' —NZ Listener Highlights of 2023

John Weir (1935–2023) was born in Nelson. He was ordained a priest in 1961 – the year in which he and Baxter became close friends and began an extensive correspondence which lasted until Baxter’s death. He published poetry, bibliographies and critical monographs, and edited major collections of Baxter’s writings, including the first Collected Poems (1979), and the multiple-volume editions: Complete Prose (2015), Letters of a Poet (2019) and Complete Poems (2022).

James K. Baxter: The Selected Poems is published in association with Cold Hub Press.

Cover: Michael Illingworth, A City in Exile, oil on canvas, 1963; with the permission of the Michael Illingworth Estate

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