James K. Baxter was born in 1926 in Dunedin, New Zealand. His father, a conscientious objector during World War I, had been sent to France and “crucified” in the firing range of the Ypres Front. His mother was the daughter of a charismatic Canterbury University Professor. Baxter inherited from his parents a fierce moral conscience he would direct against the dominant values of white New Zealand, and a literary intelligence that relentlessly converted experience into poetry. As a young man Baxter accumulated an enormous body of poems that were not just the lyrical effusions of adolescence but also mythologised mappings of a subjectivity fascinated by religion and sex. Allen Curnow included a selection of the twenty-one year-old's …
Williams, Mark. "James K. Baxter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 November 2002; last revised 30 November -1.
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