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 Maori 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.