A couple of weeks ago, I received an email that I wasn’t sure how to answer. It came from an American called Scott Baxter, and he asked:
“I came across your blog while looking for information on Ithaca Island Bay Leaves … I am interested in New Zealand poetry and a big fan of James K Baxter; is he still widely read in NZ amongst younger poets?”
Scott went on to say:
“I first came across him as we shared the same last name and upon reading his poetry I became a huge fan. I like his use of classical/Christian and later Maori imagery. I wonder how he’s read today; as a Catholic poet, an advocate for the Maori or something else entirely.
I see there is a symposium in November in Dunedin exploring the relationship between Robert Burns (another favorite poet of mine) and Baxter.”
I think that Scott has asked some excellent questions there. Is James K. Baxter still widely read by New Zealand poets? If so, how is he read, and what if any influence do his poetry and his example still have?
What do you think? Has James K. Baxter influenced your poetry, or how you read poetry? Is he still an influence? How about other poets famous in the 1960s and 1970s?