Class Notes with Amanda Sorrell | Capital University, Columbus Ohio


    • Class Notes with Amanda Sorrell

      Amanda Sorrell inset
      Aspiring poet shares experiences and personal secret to success. /


      By Kaitie Eddy

      Capital University junior Amanda Sorrell is a double major in Creative Writing and Religion. This past summer she participated in the Summer Scholars program where she wrote a collection of Honduran-inspired poems based on her own personal experiences. 

      Amanda, who is also president of Colleges Against Cancer, an editor for ReCap, and a part of the philosophy club, shared some of her experiences and inspiration for her collection of poems. 

      Q: You participated in the Summer Scholars program this past summer working on a collection of poetry. Can you give us some insight into what inspired your project?

      Amanda: My project was inspired by my past experiences at Montana de Luz and my love of poetry. I visited Montana de Luz (MDL) the first time the summer after I graduated high school, and I was deeply moved by what I saw there. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the culture and because I can understand my world better through poetry, I chose that as my medium for getting to know the country of Honduras.

      Amanda Sorrell embed
      "The Delicate Skin of Mangos”

      Overripe and poised, ready
      to jump, but afraid to fall.
      The flies whisper close
      to the ground where the delicate
      skin of mangos has been broken,
      split open by careless children's
      bare feet. Bright orange guts on moist
      ground littered with leaves curled
      around themselves, blown
      from branches by rainy season winds.
      It's the end of mango season, the last
      of the sweet fruits are ready to go.

      - poem by Amanda Sorrell

      Q: What initially brought you on your journey to Honduras?

      Amanda: My church has been sending groups there for many years so I am sure I had heard of it before, but didn't know anything about it. My mom texted me in February of my senior year of high school and asked if I wanted to go to Honduras. I said yes before even knowing anything about the trip, but once I learned about what we would be doing I was even more excited. 

      Q: Can you talk a little bit about your first experience with MDL?

      Amanda: My first experience at MDL was just completely different from anything I had experienced before; for most of the trip I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. My first experience there was my first time on a plane, my first time out of the country, and my first mission trip. I went with about 12 other people, including my mom, which really made the experience special for me. I don't speak Spanish, so it was quite strange to be around everyone speaking Spanish the whole time, but I quickly learned how well you can communicate without words. Every morning we met for a chapel-type service where the kids and the people who work at MDL gather to sing songs and pray. We did a lot physical labor, like mixing cement to build an outdoor kitchen and setting up a compost system and gardening, but we also spent a lot of time just playing with the kids or helping them with their homework. The view from the mountain is gorgeous; it was really incredible to just have some alone time to sit and reflect. Probably one of the most impactful moments of the trip was our visit to a house in the village. We made our own tortillas for baleadas, a common Honduran meal. The daughter of the woman whose house we were visiting sang songs and played her guitar for us. It was a really incredible experience.  


       Q: As an aspiring poet, what or who has been your biggest inspiration/motivation?

      Amanda: There have been a lot of people who have been influential in my life in terms of getting me to where I am as a writer. I have such an amazing support system in my life, and I really appreciate my parents and teachers letting me (and pushing me to) take risks and take chances; I think that is the only way you can grow. My mom has always been my biggest fan and that motivates me probably more than anything. I want to do big things, so I don't feel like all the time she spent cheering me on was wasted. As far as content for my poems, I am really just inspired by living my life. I feel like I'm constantly writing in my head and then when something sticks, I write it down. And if I read it later and I don't hate it, it becomes a poem. All my poetry is really personal, I'm no good at fiction; it is usually all based on personal experience. 

      Q: How have your experiences changed you, both at Capital and with the children of MDL?   

       Amanda: I feel like I've become a completely different person since I started college at Capital University. I've become a lot more self-aware, but also more aware of the world around me. Being at MDL really opened my eyes to the reality we live in. It also taught me that I have the ability to enact change in whatever small way I can. I've met such hardworking and amazing people at Capital who inspire me just by doing their thing every day. I've become a lot more confident in myself. I think overcoming fear, or at least just learning to live with it, is the biggest step you can take toward living a successful life in creative fields. 

      I came at exactly the right time,
      like a person pulled from a burning
      building just before they lose hope and get lost
      in the flames of absurdity. I'm rescued
      by voices of children, who remind me
      that being small doesn't mean you can't build

      Excerpt of "Called"
      By Amanda Sorrell

      Major: Creative Writing and Religion
      Anticipated Graduation: May 2019
      Hometown: Gahanna, OH