Brian Ernest Walter was born in Port Elizabeth, in 1956. He has taught at Chapman Senior Secondary School in Gelvandale, PE, and at the University of Fort Hare, Alice. For a Rhodes PhD he worked on Sol Plaatje’s use of the romance mode to project a vision that could avert potential tragedy, using cross-cultural knowledge and sympathy to transform (or “translate”, to use Bottom’s word) tragic unkindness into a more human, moral understanding.
Currently he works on educational and community development projects. With the poet Alvené du Plessis, he mentors the Helenvale Poets in Port Elizabeth, and has assisted them with two publications, Uitsig, and Tussen Strate. His books include Groundwork: An Introduction to Reading and Writing about Poetry (1997), which he wrote with Felicity Wood. His poetry collections are Tracks (in which the poem Bushveld appears), Baakens (2000), and Mousebirds (2008). He works with the informal Ecca group of poets, and published in local journals: Unfinshed was published in New Contrast, and Otherwise in Botsotso.
He has won the 1999 Thomas Pringle Award for poetry published in journals and the 2000 Ingrid Jonker Prize for Tracks.