Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Poetry of James K. Baxter taken to the street

Phantom Billstickers takes the poetry of James K. Baxter to the street.

A fatal heart attack in 1972 meant one of our most powerful and beloved poets never got to blow out more than 46 candles on his birthday cake. But on the 90th anniversary of his birth on the 29th of June, it seems appropriate to remember an utterly original New Zealand voice.

His poems have never been out of print. Many of them are known by heart. And now Phantom Billstickers is celebrating the life and achievements of James K. Baxter by taking his words to the street.

Five of Baxter’s poems have been printed on 1,000 Max format posters and placed in Phantom’s premium frames the length and breadth of Aotearoa. Look out for ‘A Pair of Sandals’, ‘Tomcat’, ‘Ferry from Lyttelton’, ‘The Fear of Change’ and ‘To Any Young Man Who Hears My Words In A Lecture Room’ appearing soon on a wall near you.

Phantom’s General Manager Jamey Holloway says the company is passionate about celebrating New Zealand creativity in both commercial and non-commercial forms.

“We believe the street is a place where anyone can find inspiration. Celebrating the poetry of James K. Baxter is just one way we can show this. Plus, we really love his works. He had serious chops!”

It seems appropriate to let Baxter have the final say. Here’s "Ferry from Lyttelton" in full:

These bare hills have their own non-human beauty,

A country made for angels, not for men.

And the slow bow wash of the ferry

Covers and uncovers the rocks

At the bottom of the cliffs. Always the feeling comes

That one might leap over the side

And sink in the cold water. Not, I think

A desire to kill oneself

But a longing to go back and rest

In the waters of the womb. So, brother,

Button up your coat against the night breeze

Or come and have some toast and coffee

At the curved bar in swivel chairs

Where the waiter is a friend of a friend of a friend


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland