“Root” by Nina Palattella

Nina Palattella attends Kent State University. She is the editor in chief of Brainchild, the literary and arts magazine representing the work of honors students in the MEHA region. She is primarily a poet and fiction author, though she also enjoys the challenge of research-based writing. Nina’s poem, “Root,” made an impression upon the staff with its relatable themes and setting. The piece’s allusions to nature and clever word play stood out and captured the imaginations of the staff to the extent that it was named our staff choice award winner in the 2020 edition of Scribendi. Here to share a little more about herself and what influences her pen, Nina and the staff have prepared an exclusive interview for you.

Was there a particular age or event at which you decided you wanted to begin writing?

I started writing when I was very young. I remember being assigned writing projects in first or second grade that were only required to be only two or three pages, and yet mine would end up being six or seven because I wanted to keep writing. I continued writing stories as I grew up, but the time in my life that made me sure that I wanted to write seriously came when I was a junior in high school enrolled in an Advanced Placement Language and Composition class. That was the most intense writing-based course I’d taken to date, and it exhausted me, but when it was over I still wanted to write, and I had some confirmation that I was good at it. I didn’t start seriously writing poetry until I was in college, but now I definitely enjoy that medium, too.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I write a lot while listening to music, and I also write a good number of poems that are inspired by music. I’m really interested in treating pop culture topics as areas of research, so it makes sense that that also shows up in my creative writing. One of my personal favorite poems that I’ve written centered around a Lil Peep music video inspired by Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

What was your purpose when creating this poem?

My purpose when creating this poem was to take this certain event that had happened to me, that one interesting class period, and see what else I had to say about the ideas my professor talked about.

How does nature inspire your writing?

At this point in my life, I don’t think nature directly inspires my writing so much as being out in nature, even for a short time, allows me to take a breather and clear my head enough to let my thoughts flow.

Do you have a dream nature adventure? If so, would you rather write about it or live it and why?

I think my dream nature adventure would be to go camping for an extended period of time. It would be an eye-opening experience and being able to do it would (hopefully) prove to myself that I’m stronger than I think. I would rather focus on living it at first, but once I’d adjusted I’m sure I would also write about it, in order to document it in some way.

In what ways does the medium of poetry portray your themes and story in ways that a narrative could not?

Writing poetry is a great solution when I know I have a certain idea in mind that I want to express without having to worry so much about characters and story arc and the other concerns that come with setting up a piece of fiction. I most often write poetry based on my own personal experiences, and it helps that it’s much more acceptable in poetry to have the main character often be yourself.

How did writing “Root” personally affect you?

Writing “Root” gave me reason to think about the relationship between humans and nature, hinting at the things that make us unnatural, and begin to explore these themes. I doubt this poem is the last thing I will write on these subjects.

Do you write with a particular audience in mind or for your own catharsis?

This semester, I am enrolled in a Poetry Writing II course, so when I write poetry, I know I most likely plan to share it with my classmates. I think it’s most important to write pieces, whether poetry, fiction or otherwise, that satisfy the goals I had set out for them, but that I also want to share with other people.

Tell me more about yourself and your career goals. What do you want our readers to know?

I am a senior in my last semester majoring in English with minors in writing and digital sciences at Kent State University. I am the editor in chief of Brainchild, the literary and arts magazine based at Kent State that publishes the work of honors students throughout the mid-east region. I am also the writing intern for the Kent State University Honors College and an editorial intern for New American Press. After graduation, I plan to obtain a position working in editing and publishing, hopefully in a capacity that deals with fiction, but I also plan to continue to write and publish my own work.

Why did you choose to submit your work to Scribendi?

The advisor for Brainchild encouraged our team members to submit to Scribendi‘s
2019 issue, and I ended up having a poem and a short story published in that issue. This year, since I already knew about the magazine, I knew I wanted to submit again! I really appreciate the work that Scribendi does, especially as someone who knows what it’s like to work with a magazine that highlights the work of honors students.