English teacher publishes poetry book


English Teacher Scott Walker poses with his recently published collection of poetry, “A Concept of Right Now.” This collection is the first consisting entirely of Walker’s own work to be published.

English teacher Scott Walker recently published a collection of his own poetry, “A Concept of Right Now.” While Walker has had individual poems published before, this is the first time he has published a collection authored by him alone.

“Usually every summer I’ll take 10 or so poems and send them out to places,” Walker said. “I just go online and search for publications and try and find out which ones match best with what I do.”

The collection represents about 20 years of work for Walker, who says he has been seriously writing poetry since he was 17. Many of the poems in the collection incorporate work from that span of time. 

“One of the things I notice about my writing practice is that if a poem doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, I’ll save it and go back to it,” Walker said. “I might take half a poem that I wrote five years ago and use it in a new way.”

In addition to the title of the collection itself, “A Concept of Right Now” is also the name of one of the poems within the collection. Walker cites a documentary he watched on the human species’ understanding of time as a major influencing factor in the title he chose.

The theme of time explored within the poem itself was one that Walker credits his friend Chuck Sullivan with inspiring him to write about. Walker met Sullivan through the poetry workshop Sullivan used to do with students at Northwest. Sullivan would come to Northwest and read his poems for the class and teach the students how to write poetry themselves over the course of a week. 

One of the prompts Sullivan taught to the students was on the theme of time, which Walker wrote on with his students.

“Whatever (the students) were writing, I would write along with them, so part of (“A Concept of Right Now”) came out of me doing the poetry workshop,” Walker said. 

In writing the poems that made the collection, Walker also reflected on his time spent travelling. Walker considers geography a recurring theme in his writing. 

“Over the years I’ve had people tell me that my poems seem to be focused on things like place, geography, alienation and belonging,” Walker said. 

Walker attributes this aspect of his poems to the amount of travelling he has done throughout his life.

“I was always the new kid, I was always having to figure out new ways of using language and I was always having to figure out new ways of being accepted,” Walker said. “I think there’s something to the idea that the poems are about time and space.”

One of the specific places Walker was influenced by was Alaska. While he didn’t write about it immediately, Walker says that the passage of time made it easier for him to articulate his thoughts and experiences in Alaska. 

“It’s sort of difficult to write about a situation to write about a place or a situation right when it’s happening,” Walker said. “Now that I don’t live in Alaska, I have written about it, and it’s kind of easier to access my understanding of it with some distance. Maybe not all writers are like that, but I need to have some distance from the subject matter.”

To purchase the book through Amazon, click here.