Author(s): Gregory O'Brien
This is a personal exploration of-and homage to-some of the important New Zealand poets and painters of the 20th Century , beginning-as the title suggests-with James K. Baxter. The author writes: ' After bathing, as a young man, in the Wanganui River of Baxter's poetry, much of my subsequent reading, writing, painting and thinking were shaped by his dreams of self, society and artistic creation.' For O'Brien, the essay and notebook are very much 'lived-in' forms-so this collection teems with anecdote and personal observation. Alongside Baxter, the book includes major pieces on writers Kendrick Smithyman, Janet Frame and Ruth Dallas. Following a sequence ofautobiographical stories, O'Brien shifts his gaze to the visual arts, taking the reader on a tour of some notable sites, Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Rosalie Gascoigne and Denis O'Connor. Gregory O'Brien was born in Matamata in 1961. Since the early 1980s he has exhibited paintings, illustrated books and published numerous collections of poetry, non-fiction and a novel. As well as co-editing three anthologies of New Zealand poetry , O'Brien has co-edited (with Te MiringaHohaia and Lara Strongman) Parihaka; the Art of Passive Resistance (VUP) which was co- winner of the Biography and History Prize, Montana New Zealand Book Awards, 2001. He has works as a curator at City Gallery Wellington and runs a poetry workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University, Wellington.
Gregory O'Brien co-edited 'Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance' which was co-winner of the Biography and History Prize - Montana New Zealand Book Awards, 2001.