The earliest critical wntmgs of James K. Baxter make frequent approving reference to animism as a basis of poetic experience. This tendency reached an extreme with the writing of his first play, Jack Winter's Dream, in 1956, after which the term 'animism' virtually disappeared from his critical vocabulary. It will be argued that with Jack Winter's Dream Baxter moved from animism to expressionism, the logical source of his major confessional poetry of the 1960s. This transition is particularly important in view of the recent popularity of the play, which in 1979 appeared in a new edition' and was released as a feature film.



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