Amanda Walke – Guest Judge
In 2006 she went to University to pursue a Major in English Language and Literature and minor in Creative Writing. This is where her passion for writing saw a lot of growth through intensive writer’s workshops and feedback from her professors and peers. She enjoyed the opportunity to be taught by many professional writers, including the writer and filmmaker Kathryn Mockler, travel writer Melanie Chambers and humour essayist and newspaper columnist Mark Kearney. In 2010, in her final year at Western University, Kathryn Mockler selected and published several of Amanda’s poems in a poetry compilation for the University.
At University, Amanda learned the most valuable lessons about the process of writing poetry. She learned that the poet is an artist and arborist of words. The best poetry comes from a seed of thought or feeling from somewhere deep within, and sprouts out wildly, unruly and unrelentingly. To grow and reach its fullest potential, a poem needs to be nurtured and pruned, broken down and rebuilt. A poem is alive and will never be perfect because perfection is a relative term. It can be as good as the poet’s ability to see when it is ripe and good enough to be picked and put out into the world.
Since graduating in 2010, she has begun a career in teaching while maintaining ties to local writer’s groups in her community, such as the BWG Writers Circle, and networking with other writers to plan new projects and opportunities. Her newest project in the works is a whimsical, poetic book collaboration with an illustrator and muralist she met while traveling in Victoria, British Colombia this summer. Amanda has traveled across Western Europe and Western Canada and looks forward to traveling to South East Asia the summer of 2015. Her most inspirational memories traveling include writing poetry in Emily Carr’s backyard in Victoria, British Colombia and on top of the Old Man Storr Mountain in the Isle of Skye, Ireland, surfing in Zarautz, Spain, paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland and eating the best spaghetti bolognese in Rome, Italy. Her passion for travel has brought her in contact with many inspiring writers and artists and she looks forward to the new opportunities to come.
“To travel is to wander in thyself. May you travel forever.” ~ A. Walke