Natalie Mannino-A Poet Pursuing Literary Editing

Faculty Shout-Out by Dr. Steve Rachman: “Natalie is a great student. I will never forget the fall semester of 2020 with the chaos of the election and the terror of COVID-19, Natalie produced, among her many good works, a really searching and intelligent paper on John Donne and Margaret Edson’s play W;t and ,for an Honors project, a pandemic video diary that was so searing and powerful that when the anthropologists from Mars come down to learn of these times and the ways of earthlings, they could watch her piece and be edified.”

How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?

I have loved my time as an English major at MSU! I started out my undergrad only studying Psychology, and it wasn’t until halfway through my sophomore year that I decided to add on an English degree as I realized it was truly what I wanted to pursue. I’ve found so much fulfillment since then, with everything to the smaller, more intimate classes to the creative opportunities and new connections with like minded peers and professors. The classwork was very enjoyable, and I almost always looked forward to the assigned readings and the papers I wrote.

Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?

I have especially enjoyed my time with Emily Yates, Prof. Rachman, Dr. Silbergleid. Emily taught the first ENG class I ever took at MSU, and it was the best introduction to the department that I could have asked for. She was so creative and energetic and made me very excited for what lay ahead in my degree. I had Prof. Rachman at the beginning of the 2020 school year where everything was fully virtual, and he was incredibly sympathetic and flexible as our class dealt with the adjustment. The in class conversations that he facilitated were some of the best I had, and with his teaching I was able to write a paper that got me a scholarship! I’m currently in a class with Dr. Silbergleid, and she has been such an awesome mentor in my creative work, and has made me excited to pursue my goals in the creative writing field. I appreciate being able to learn from such an accomplished and developed writer.

What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?

Make connections in your classes! Being comfortable enough to speak with your peers and instructor and participate in class discussion is one of the best parts about English classes. The smaller settings allow for really amazing and in depth conversation, so take advantage of it. Keep up with your reading, too!

What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them?

I’ve been working on creating a small chapbook of poetry in remembrance for a close friend that I lost to COVID in my Advanced Poetry Writing class this semester, and it has been a great experience. With in class activities, small group workshops, and feedback from Dr. Silbergleid, it’s turned out to be an eye opening and creatively motivating process. I’ve learned so much in just one semester, and I’m really excited to see the final product.

What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?

After taking a couple of months off to travel and enjoy the freedom of not being a student, I would love to get a job in editing for either a publishing company or creative literary journal, while pursuing my creative endeavors of publishing my own work. I can also see myself entering into an MFA program in a few years!

If you’re interested in doing so, please reflect a bit on the strange experience of being a graduating senior during the ongoing pandemic. What resources have been most useful to you in navigating this unprecedented situation?

It’s one thing to graduate from college, but it is another thing entirely to graduate from college during a pandemic. It’s crazy to look back on my undergrad experience and see it split almost perfectly in half of pre and post COVID, and to think of how much has changed both personally and academically. However, it also makes this accomplishment so much more meaningful! The support and sympathy from my professors and their willingness to work with students to find the best solutions during these times has honestly been the most helpful thing of all– thank you English professors and advisors!