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Encyclopedia > James K. Baxter
James Keir Baxter

James K. Baxter
Born June 29, 1926
Dunedin, New Zealand
Died October 22, 1972
Auckland, New Zealand
Occupation Poet
Nationality New Zealand
Writing period 1944-1972
Literary movement Wellington Group
Debut works Beyond the Palisade, 1944
Influences Dylan Thomas

James Keir Baxter (June 29, 1926October 22, 1972) was a New Zealand poet, and a controversial figure in New Zealand society. James Keir Baxter File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Dunedin (Ōtepoti in Maori) is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the region of Otago. ... For other uses, see Auckland (disambiguation). ... This article is about work. ... In English usage, nationality is the legal relationship between a person and a country. ... ... Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet. ... is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 295th day of the year (296th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ...



Baxter was born in Dunsandel to Archibald Baxter and Millicent Brown and grew up near Brighton. He was named after James Keir Hardie, a founder of the British Labour Party. His father had been a conscientious objector during the First World War. His mother had studied at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney, the University of Sydney and Newnham College. Dunsandel is a small rural township about 40 km south of Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, on State Highway One. ... Archibald McColl Learmond Baxter (13 December 1881 - 10 August 1970) was a New Zealand pacifist, Christian socialist, and anti-war activist. ... Brighton is a small seaside town within the city limits of Dunedin, in New Zealands South Island. ... James Keir Hardie (15 August 1856 - 26 September 1915) was a Scottish socialist and labour leader, and one of the first two Labour Party Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the UK Parliament after the establishment of the Labour Party. ... John T. Neufeld was a WWI conscientious objector sentenced to 15 years hard labour in the military prison at Leavenworth. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... The Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney (P.L.C. Sydney), is an independent, Presbyterian, day and boarding school for girls, located in Croydon, an inner-western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. ... The University of Sydney, established in Sydney in 1850, is the oldest university in Australia. ... Full name Newnham College Motto - Named after - Previous names Newnham Hall Established 1871 Sister College St Cross College Principal The Lady ONeill of Bengarve Location Sidgwick Avenue Undergraduates 396 Graduates 120 Homepage Boatclub A view of part of Newnham College. ...

He burned his hand on a stove on his first day at school, and later used this incident to represent the failure of institutional education. As a child he contrasted the social order represented by his maternal grandfather with the clan mentality of his Scottish father. He drew analogies between the Highland clans and the Māori Tribes. This article is about the Māori people of New Zealand. ...

Baxter, like the comparable Francis Webb in Australia, claims to have begun writing poetry at the age of seven, and it is certain that he accumulated a large body of technically-accomplished poetry both before and during his teenage years; he continued to write throughout a life at once contemplative and active, although his frequent shifts of religion and lifestyle often puzzled his countrymen.

His poetry oscillates between metric verse, of which he was a master, and the free prose preferred by his contemporaries. He typically wrote short lyrical poems or cycles of the same rather than longer poems.

In 1944, at age seventeen he joined the University of Otago and that year he published his first collection of poetry Beyond the Palisades which was well received critically and established him as a poet. His work at this time was influenced by the works of Dylan Thomas. He was a member of the Wellington Group of writers with Louis Johnson, W.H. Oliver and Alistair Campbell. The University of Otago (Māori: ) in Dunedin is New Zealands oldest university with over 20,000 students enrolled during 2006. ... Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet. ... W.H. Oliver is a New Zealand historian and poet, born in what is now known as Feilding, on 14 May 1925, the son of Cornish immigrants. ... Alistair Campbell is a poet, born on the Cook Islands, but resident for most of his life in New Zealand. ...

He failed to complete his course at Otago, and did various odd jobs including working as a mime at an abattoir, and as a cleaner at Chelsea Sugar Refinery, which inspired the poem "Ballad of the Stonegut Sugar Works". In 1948 he married Jacqueline Sturm, and at about the same time his interest in black magic culminated in his joining the Anglican church. Chelsea Sugar Refinery, as seen from Birkenhead Wharf The Chelsea Sugar Refinery is a long-established business and landmark in Birkenhead, New Zealand, located on the northern shore of Aucklands Waitemata Harbour. ... Jacqueline Celia Sturm is a poet and writer of short stories. ... The Anglican Communion is a world-wide organisation of Anglican Churches. ...

In February 1951 Baxter enrolled at Wellington Teachers’ College. In 1952 his son, Pong, was born and a selection of poems in a collaborative volume, Poems unpleasant, was published. Having completed his course at teachers’ college in December, Baxter spent 1953 in full-time study at Victoria University College and published his third major collection, The fallen house. In 1954 he was appointed assistant master at Epuni School, Lower Hutt. He received a BA in 1956. Year 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the first Duke of Wellington, see Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. ... Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... January 7 - President Harry S. Truman announces the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb. ... Victoria Universitys Kelburn Campus. ... Lower Hutt is a city in the lower North Island of the country of New Zealand. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

While at Otago university he began drinking heavily but in 1954 he joined Alcoholics Anonymous. By 1955 he had received a substantial legacy and could afford a comfortable house in Ngaio, Wellington. He left Epuni School early in 1956 to write and edit primary school bulletins for the Department of Education’s School Publications Branch. This period is likely to have influenced his writing providing material for numerous attacks on bureaucracy. AA meeting sign // Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an informal meeting society for recovering alcoholics whose primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... Ngaio is a inner suburb of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The New Zealand Department of Education was, pre-1989, the public service department of the New Zealand Government responsible for pre-tertiary education. ...

In 1957 he took a course in Roman Catholicism. His collection of poems In Fires of No Return published in 1958 was influenced by his new faith. This was his first collection to be published internationally, though English critics were generally unimpressed. His wife, a committed Anglican, was dismayed by his Catholicism, and they separated in 1957. Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ...

In 1958 he received a UNESCO stipend and began an extended journey through Asia, and especially India. Here he was reconciled with his wife, but contracted dysentery. His writing after returning from India was more overtly critical of New Zealand society. In the 1960s he became a powerful and prolific writer of both poems and drama, and it was through his radio play Jack Winter's dream that he became internationally known. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ... Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is frequent, small-volume, severe diarrhea that shows blood in the feces along with intestinal cramping and tenesmus (painful straining to pass stool). ... Radio drama, which had its greatest popularity in the U. S. and in most other countries before the widespread access to television programming, depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the story in her or his minds eye--in this sense, it resembles reading...

In the first half of the 1960s he was broke and dependent on a postman's wage, having refused to take work as a schoolmaster. However it was at this time that the collection of poems Pig Island Letters was published in which his writing found a new level of clarity. This year (1966) he was offered and accepted the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago.

In 1968 he recalled being told in a dream 'Go to Jerusalem'. Jerusalem was a small Māori settlement (known by its Māori transliteration, Hiruharama) on the Wanganui River. He left his University position and a job composing catechetical material for the Catholic Education Board, with nothing but a bible. This was the culmination of a short period in which he struggled with family life and his vocation as a poet. St Joseph’s Church at Jerusalem Jerusalem was once an important kainga (fishing village) on the Whanganui River in New Zealand where a Roman Catholic mission was first established in 1854. ... This article is about the Wanganui River in the South island of New Zealand. ...

He spent some time in Grafton, Auckland where he set up a centre for drug addicts acting on the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1969 he adopted the Māori version of his name, Hemi, and moved to Jerusalem. He lived without property and made frequent trips to the nearby cities where he worked with the involuntarily poor and spoke against a social order that sanctions poverty. His poems of this time have a conversational style but speak strongly of his social and political convictions. For other uses, see Auckland (disambiguation). ...

The harsh deprivations he forced on himself at this time took their toll on his health. By 1972 he was too ill to continue at Jerusalem. He moved to a commune near Auckland. On October 22, 1972 he suffered a coronary thrombosis in the street, and died in a nearby house, aged 46. is the 295th day of the year (296th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Thrombosis is the formation of a clot or thrombus inside a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood through the circulatory system. ...

He was buried at Jerusalem on Māori land in front of "the Top House" where he had lived, in a ceremony combining Māori and Catholic traditions.

His work has inspired, among others, Stephen Oliver. Stephen Oliver (1950-1992) was an English composer, best known for his operas. ...

Selected works

  • Beyond the Palisade, 1944
  • Blow, Wind of Fruitfulness, 1948
  • Hart Crane; a poem, 1948
  • Recent Trends in New Zealand Poetry, 1951
  • Poems Unpleasant, 1952 (with Louis Johnson and Anton Vogt)
  • Rapunzel: a Fantasia for Six Voices, 1953
  • The Fallen House, 1953
  • The Fire and the Anvil, 1955
  • Traveller’s Litany, 1955
  • The Iron Breadboard: Studies in New Zealand Writing, 1950000* The Night Shift: Poems on Aspects of Love, 1957 (with Charles Doyle, Louis Johnson and Kendrick Smithyman)
  • In Fires of No Return, 1958
  • Chosen Poems, 1958
  • Two Plays: The Wide Open Cage and Jack Winter's Dream, 1959
  • The Ballad of Calvary Street, 1960
  • Howrah Bridge and Other Poems, 1961
  • Three Women and the Sea, 1961
  • The Spots of the Leopard, 1962
  • The Ballad of the Soap Powder Lock-Out, 1963
  • A Selection of Poetry, 1964
  • Pig Island Letters, 1966
  • Aspects of Poetry in New Zealand, 1967
  • The Lion Skin, 1967.
  • The Man on the Horse, 1967
  • The Bureaucrat, 1968 (prod.)
  • The Rock Woman: Selected Poems, 1969
  • Jerusalem Sonnets: Poems for Colin Durning, 1970
  • The Flowering Cross, 1970
  • The Devil and Mr Mulcahy, and The Band Rotunda, 1971 (plays)
  • Jerusalem Daybook, 1971
  • The Sore-Footed Man, and The Temptations of Oedipus, 1971 (plays)
  • Ode to Auckland and Other Poems, 1972
  • Autumn Testament, 1972 (edited by Paul Millar)
  • Four God Songs, 1972
  • Letter to Peter Olds, 1972

Posthumously published

  • Runes, 1973.
  • Two Obscene Poems, 1974
  • Barney Flanagan and Other Poems, read by James K. Baxter, 1973 (record)
  • The Labyrinth: Some Uncollected Poems 1944-72, 1974.
  • The Tree House and Other Poems for Children, 1974.
  • The Bone Chanter, 1976 (ed. and introd. by J.E. Weir)
  • The Holy Life and Death of Concrete Grady, 1976 (ed. and introd. by J.E. Weir)
  • Baxter Basics, 1979
  • Collected Poems, 1979 (edited by John Weir, reissued in 1995)
  • Collected Plays, 1982.
  • Selected Poems, 1982.
  • Horse: a Novel, 1985.
  • The Essential Baxter / selected and introduced by John Weir, 1993
  • Cold Spring: Baxter's Unpublished Early Collection, 1996 (edited by Paul Millar)

See also

  • Millicent Baxter, James Baxter's mother (a renowned pacifist)


  • http://www.vuw.ac.nz/modernletters/bnzp/2001/baxternote.html
  • http://oldpoetry.com/authors/James%20Keir%20Baxter
  • http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/baxt.htm
  • http://www.dnzb.govt.nz
  • http://www.grafton.org.nz/content/view/9/26/
NAME Baxter, James Keir
DATE OF BIRTH June 29, 1926
PLACE OF BIRTH Dunedin, New Zealand
DATE OF DEATH October 22, 1972
PLACE OF DEATH Auckland, New Zealand

^.^ The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ... is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Dunedin (ÅŒtepoti in Maori) is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the region of Otago. ... is the 295th day of the year (296th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Auckland (disambiguation). ...

  Results from FactBites:
Baxter Project Background (836 words)
James Phinney Baxter, visionary, historian, poet, politician and philanthropist, 6-time mayor of Portland, Maine, bequeathed a significant sum to the City of Boston upon his death in 1921, with the specific intent to honor the lives, deeds, principles and ideals of the founders of New England.
A team has assembled to bring the vision of James Phinney Baxter to bear on the evolution of the American mind today, at a time when America is at a crossroads on her path to actualizing her founding freedom documents.
James Phinney Baxter was a great advocate of education and scholarly endeavor.
James K. Baxter - Tribal Prophet: Unit Plan [English Online] (0 words)
If available students are given copies of Introducing James K. Baxter by Christopher Parr and, in class, read and extract information that enhances and extends their knowledge of Baxter relating this new information to their past and future analysis of poems.
Students can listen to a tape of Baxter reading some poems they are studying and make comparisons between his reading and theirs, looking for different emphasis, pause, intonation and discussing the effect of the differences.
Finish the unit with another photograph of Baxter's coffin being taken up to the burial site behind the church at Jerusalem and students again to write words/phrases this image provokes, given their increased knowledge of the poet.
  More results at FactBites »



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