The weather last night could not have been worse for the annual Christchurch Rochester lecture with John Weir reflecting on the life, letters and loves of NZ poet James K. Baxter.
As we gathered a cold southerly brought bitter cold and sleet to Canterbury, but still a great crowd assembled to hear John share profound and moving insights into the life of his friend Jim, Hemi.
Baxter was a poet, but so too is John, and the beauty and intimacy of John’s reflection gave us an insight into the beauty of these two poets’ friendship with each other, brought together by their shared friendship with Christ.
This friendship last night brought together a diverse bunch of people, and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet old and new friends gathering 44 years after Baxter’s death. John began by speaking of his last meeting with Baxter in July of 1972, just three months before Baxter’s death in the same room in which we gathered last night, the dining room of Rochester Hall.
This morning as I googled John’s recent publication of the four-volume Complete Prose of Baxter I came across Victoria University’s digital publication of the prose. It is available at this link. However this digital version is no substitute for the beautifully bound four volumes which were on display last night.