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The life of James K. Baxter / Frank McKay.

By: McKay, Frank, 1920-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Auckland, N.Z. : Oxford University Press, 1990Description: xii, 320 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 0195581342 (hbk.) :.Subject(s): Baxter, James K. (James Keir), 1926-1972 -- Biography | Baxter, James K | Baxter, James K. -- (james Keir), -- 1926- 1972 -- Biography | Poets, New Zealand -- 20th century -- Biography | Baxter, James K. (James Keir), 1926-1972DDC classification: NZ821.2
Maps on lining papers. -Includes bibliographical references and index.
Awards: New Zealand Book Awards, 1991: Non-fiction.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Widely considered to be the greatest poet New Zealand has produced, James K. Baxter (1926-1972) was full of contradictions: a poet who spent much of his time exercising a concern for society's outcasts; a man with intense loyalty to his country who frequently condemned its institutions; a devout convert to Roman Catholicism whose life did not follow many of the usual practices of the church. This volume is the definitive biography of James K. Baxter, a man whose life and ideas were central to the New Zealand experience.

Maps on lining papers.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Maps on lining papers. -Includes bibliographical references and index.

New Zealand Book Awards, 1991: Non-fiction.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics


The material for this biography of one of New Zealand's two major poets (Allen Curnow being the other) was collected over a period of more than 15 years. McKay himself knew Baxter well during the last 20 years of Baxter's life but relies for this biography mainly on information and memories of others whose life touched Baxter's significantly. No one else will ever assemble such a body of material on Baxter, but it is a weight as well as a wealth of material: the book is packed with anecdotes, some important, some merely heavy. Once one realizes that one will not find here an integrated portrait of Baxter, one reads for the anecdotes, and the book does eventually acquire a momentum of its own from the sheer multiplicity and variety of the offerings. Baxter was a man of contrary impulses, himself not altogether integrated. He patterned himself after Shelley in the role of poet as social prophet; and he had a stronger sense of the theatrical than most Romantics. In the end, one is left with Baxter's work itself. But as a background to that work, this biography is likely to remain the basic sourcebook. McKay attempts to relate Baxter's poetry to his life at various stages, and he provides a useful index. Recommended for public and college libraries, essential for those with Commonwealth collections. -J. B. Beston, Nazareth College of Rochester