Story: Poetry

James K. Baxter reading a poem

This television clip records James K. Baxter reading 'Oh early in the morning'. The poem begins, 'Oh early in the morning/I wake up in Firetrap Castle'. Firetrap Castle was Baxter's name for 26 MacDonald Crescent, off The Terrace in Wellington, where he was living at the end of 1971 when he composed the poem. Baxter had left the commune at Jerusalem on the Whanganui River in September of that year, and the poem was eventually published in his last book of poems Autumn testament (1972). The clip gives a fine sense of Baxter's performance style, with his clear enunciation. His appearance at this stage – about a year before he died – was of a prophet and high priest of the counter-culture.

Using this item

TVNZ Television New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

John Newton, 'Poetry - James K. Baxter and poets of the 1950s and 1960s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/43080/james-k-baxter-reading-a-poem (accessed 13 November 2019)

Story by John Newton, published 22 Oct 2014