Ben is interested in how contemporary poets explore faith. His thesis comprised a collection of new poetry and a study of Michael Symmons Roberts’s Drysalter.
Phd awarded 2020
Ben is a poet and education lecturer from Wellington, where he teaches in the Faculty of Education at Victoria University. Ben’s poems have been published in various places in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, including in Landfall, takahe, Cordite, Magma, The Clearing, Relief, and The Windhover. Ben held the Claude McCarthy Fellowship during his PhD. Prior to doctoral study, he completed the MA in Creative Writing at the IIML in 2014.
Ben writes: 'My research centred upon the 2013 collection, Drysalter, by the English poet Michael Symmons Roberts and addresses a question he raises: How can contemporary poets explore faith in a post-secularised language and culture?
'My thesis examines the implications of ‘post-secularism’ on how poetry details or alludes to religious belief and experience. Through a critical exploration of biblical language and imagery in Symmons Roberts’s Drysalter, I argue that ‘post-secularism’ – that is, an accommodation of the continued mutuality of religious and secular perspectives in the public sphere – presents poets with opportunities to map these two worlds of the religious and the secular at once, to create new terms and metaphors, to arrive at new language for writing faith.
'The creative component of the thesis – The Seed Drill – extends the arguments I make in the critical component. I am interested in how I explore and map belief and experience in my own poetry. The Seed Drill is a collection of new poetry, employing sacred and profane imagery and language to explore and scrutinise a life informed by faith.'