Friday, July 15, 2016

Re:generation NZATE16 : Keynote 4 Ben Brown

Writer, teacher, performance poet and sometime. 

Listening to Ben Brown I sort of question why he is not as well known as Witi Ihimaera or Patricia Grace. As powerful a wordsmith. 

He describes himself as 'A storyteller in the world of words'. 

Maori at home, Pakeha at school - the world of his mother. 

Great line - Behind every great writer is the ghost of an English teacher!!!

And another - Human conversation is not a frivolous activity. 

'My father always a book at the table right next to the knife! They were in the workshop and stacked in piles in the house. My mother read Readers Digest condensed -'much to my father's chagrin'. 

Created some great images - my mother's tongue had the quality of hard diamond that cut! Ben has wonderful descriptions of his mother - the heron that fishes, the eel that twists and turns ... She could talk to birds! 
Animals had a natural affinity to her, they knew how to find her kindness. 

Honky the rabbit - named from 'Love thy neighbour' - imagine that show today!!
The teacher 'Miss What ever her name' refused to allow the racist name in the pet show!  'As only a teacher in her room could' 

In Tom Sawyer he could see his own life reflected - scallywag, truant, miscreant ....

Another great line - 'The constant mining if the human story. The seam is rich' 

Final thoughts - Be the artist. Dream ridiculously. Don't live in the grind of someone else's machine.  Poets are hopeless romantics - they believe in everything. 
Be an artist. Be the maker of something real. 
Make it complete and give it a name or else it will not exist. 

Final line:
Mana is the man who does without saying 
'He Kingi' 

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