Selected Poems of James K. Baxter

Edited by Paul Millar


‘An affordable addition to the nation’s bookshelves, this fresh selection delivers a generous helping from the overflowing kete of this wayward genius.’ – Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, The Press


By 1972, when James K. Baxter died aged just 46, his colourful life and distinctive poetry had captured the imagination of New Zealanders as no literary figure before him. Selected Poems of James K. Baxter is a new generous and authoritative selection of Baxter’s verse for general readers and students by New Zealand’s leading Baxter scholar, Paul Millar.

With a range of poems from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and the Jerusalem period, full texts of major sequences ‘Pig Island Letters’ and the ‘Jerusalem Sonnets’, and key new poems directly from manuscript, Millar’s selection reveals the breadth of Baxter’s achievement, not merely its peaks – from the comic and bawdy to the political and devotional.

Selected Poems of James K. Baxter also includes an insightful introduction by Millar and short prefaces to the four parts, plus four Baxter photos, useful notes, a glossary of Māori words and index.



Dr Paul Millar is associate professor of English at the University of Canterbury. Millar was convening judge in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and received a Copyright Licensing Limited Writers’ Award in 2003 to complete his biography of Bill Pearson, No Fretful Sleeper (AUP, 2010). He has published five books and a number of articles on the poetry of James K Baxter, including Spark to a Waiting Fuse (2001) and Baxter’s New Selected Poems (2002). He co-wrote the Baxter documentary The Road to Jerusalem, has been the Baxter consultant on two television documentaries and, with Geoffrey Miles, is currently completing a book on Baxter and myth.


June 2010, 216 x 135 mm, 320 pages, illustrations, New Zealand & Australia only
Paperback, ISBN 9781869404611, $39.99