Ben Egerton

Ben’s thesis will illuminate aspects of religious faith and doubt, through the poetry of Symmons Roberts and a complementary collection of his own new work.

Commenced 2017

Ben is a writer and education lecturer from Wellington. His poems, and writing about education, have been published in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom in such places as Landfall, Education Review, broadsheet, Turbine / Kapohau, Cordite Poetry Review, The Clearing, Eyewear Review, and the Times Education Supplement, among others. Originally from the west of England, he studied for a BA (Hons) in Music and Politics, before training as an English teacher. He taught in and around Oxford, England, for eleven years before being offered a teaching job in Wellington and moving there in 2011. Ben completed the MA in Creative Writing at the IIML in 2014. Read about Ben's MA experience.

Ben writes: 'My research centres upon the 2013 collection, Drysalter, by the English poet Michael Symmons Roberts and addresses a question he raises: How can contemporary poets explore religious faith in a post-secularised language and culture?

'I am considering Drysalter as a reinterpretation of the Psalms for a post-secular age and audience –  as well as examining how it is influenced by them – and how this collection accepts the invitation that the post-secular age offers to religious voices to join public debate on issues such as the environment or the economy.

'The heart of my critical thesis will be an examination of Drysalter to see how Symmons Roberts answers his own question: how successful is his collection in exploring, illuminating and explaining aspects of faith, and adding religious reason to contemporary discourse?

'My own collection of poetry will explore similar territory. And of it and myself, I will ask the same question: how can I articulate my own faith for a post-secular reader and, as a poet whose work goes out into the world, how do I respond with consideration to urgent issues. I am particularly interested in poetic form, so I aim for my poetry to explore (and explode) the, perhaps liberating, constraints of a set form and poetic set pieces.'

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