Author(s): James K Baxter, ed. John Weir
James K. Baxter was a great twentieth-century poet. He once declared, ‘In contradiction . . . I was born.’
Sometimes at odds with God, often at odds with conventional society, he was at the same time a profoundly religious man and a fearless social critic who insisted that love and compassion were the only cure for society’s ills.
His Complete Prose chronicles his life and times, his preferences and prejudices, his crises and turbulent
occasions. Its contents are remarkable for their range, coherence and passionate integrity.
This four-volume set contains over a million words, in the form of reviews, essays, lectures, journal articles,
drafts and rough notes, meditations, fables, stories, a short novel, interviews, letters to the editor, correspondence with friends and critics, and diary entries, covering Baxter’s entire career, from his first draft of ‘Before Sunrise’ as a teenager in 1942 to his ‘Confession to the Lord Christ’ shortly before his death in 1972. Edited with scrupulous care by John Weir, Baxter’s friend and the foremost scholar of his work, it also includes an extensive introduction, notes and references, a glossary of Māori words and phrases, biographies of key people, an index and a bibliography. The Complete Prose is a testament to Baxter’s huge contribution to New Zealand literature, culture and society.
4 hardback volumes with cloth spines presented in a box. Original paintings on box by Nigel Brown.
Volume format: 152 x 232mm
Vol. 1 – 776pp
Vol. 2 – 712pp
Vol. 3 – 584pp
Vol. 4 – 592pp
John Weir was born in Nelson in 1935. After a period of training at Mount St Mary’s Seminary, Greenmeadows, he was ordained a Catholic priest. At the University of Canterbury he was awarded the annual Macmillan Brown Prize for original composition on three occasions. (The prize was established in memory of Professor John Macmillan Brown, James K. Baxter’s maternal grandfather.) After graduating MA with first-class honours in English and completing a PhD in English he became a lecturer in English language and literature. His area of specialization was New Zealand Literature. He has published poetry, bibliographies and critical monographs and edited a number of collections of James K. Baxter’s poetry, including his Collected Poems. An intimate friend and confidant of Baxter’s, he has spent many years preparing his Complete Prose for publication.