Writer’s Walk A Success Once Again

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For years, Writer’s Workshop classes have had a day dedicated to the love and passion of poetry and creative writing: the Writer’s Walk. With 2011’s Writer’s Walk, though, they may have had not only the best weather yet, but also a truly successful effort in inspiring students that may not typically be uplifted by the powers of the pen and spoken word.

Dane Gamble, a former student who graduated in 2008, finds himself coming back to this event year after year. A constant writer, poet, and musician, Gamble loves everything that the Writer’s Walk offers.

“I always get blown away by the poetry and the amount of creativity in the poems. It’s always a pleasant surprise,” Gamble said.

Gamble read a numerous amount of poems from the center of the courtyard (where the event takes place), in a place entitled Dramatic Readings. His favorite poem, referencing numerous movies and pop culture, is the metaphor-filled “Lights, Camera, Action!”

“That piece connects with so many people. It’s really uplifting and I always get a big reaction when I read it,” Gamble said.

Another poet, senior Cam Kirk, who is in Lauren Scholtes’ 7th block Writer’s Workshop class, was given the opportunity to read some of his pieces. He was impressed with the overall creativity and tightness of this year’s Writer’s Walk.

“It’s so diverse. You get to hear the creativity of people you may never talk to otherwise,” Kirk said.

Kirk looked over a lot of old pieces, composed some new ones based off ideas of others, and asked for some criticism. In result, he read a number of poems throughout the day from the Dramatic Readings podium. But if it wasn’t preparing and reading his own poetry, Kirk was most impressed by the unit as a whole.

“This year’s Writer’s Walk was more organized, and there were a lot more people speaking this year than before,” Kirk said.

On one side of the courtyard was the Musician’s Corner, where seniors including Brandon Upson, Micah Drake, and Anthony Balas all played guitar, often playing their own songs, some covers, and even some improvised tracks that students asked them to try their luck at composing.

“To prepare, I had to figure out what to play, but today I tried mostly to take things as they came,” Upson said. “When I wasn’t playing, I went from station to station and saw a lot of good response. I could tell it was an extremely successful day.”

Upson played a couple original pieces, including “All My Hopes And Dreams Lie In Springfield” and an untitled track, both written and composed by his current musical project, The Irrelephants.

There were an endless amount of activities for people to participate in, from readings, to music, to snacks, to even a haunted house. The Writer’s Walk has always guaranteed to keep students busy.

“I read some poems, wrote a few quotes and some secrets. It’s a very freeing experience,” Gamble said.

The weather was also a plus this time. With a history of being a blisteringly cold event, this year’s Writer’s Walk reversed that stereotype.

“It started out cold, but eventually turned into a beautiful day. I’m really happy about it,” Upson said.

This day was sort of a break from the action of the typical school day. With the second quarter just underway, students were given a day to catch their breath and demonstrate to how writing and reading have affected themselves. The event did a fantastic job of stressing the arts, rather than core subjects that seem almost overwhelming to many.

“There’s always so much focus on other subjects, and not so much on the arts. It’s a form of therapy – a way to express yourself,” Gamble said.

With hundreds of students and the wonderful spontaneity and creativity of both Writer’s Workshop students and attendees in general, this year’s Writer’s Walk may go down as not only one of the most successful as ever, but also the most life-altering.

“I see students who would never read before suddenly reading poems. This event breeds creativity, which is lacking in society, and I’m glad that West embraces that,” Gamble said.

Photo by Sandra Kincaid