Jon Naskrent

Kayla Trail

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 Graduate student teacher, Jon Naskrent is in his first semester of teaching his own English class at Western
Illinois University.

 “I’m the instructor of record and everything,” Naskrent said in regards to teaching his own English 180 class. “I’m not really sure what my area of focus will be yet (after college) since it’s my first year, but probably something to do with literary modernism, or maybe semiotics, I can kind of go anywhere.”

 Naskrent said his fascination with writing began when he was younger and he found comfort in popular, yet challenging novels.

 “The biggest thing that got me into writing was that I just wanted to make my own stories,” Naskrentsaid. “When I was a kid I was reading all of these wonderful stories — ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Ender’s Game’, — so I tried to write fantasy stories.”

 He said that due to him being just “a kid” his stories were not very well developed, but as he got older he progressed into different styles of writing.

 “As a teenager I was reading a lot of modern poets,” Naskrent said. “People like E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, so I tried writing that kind of poetry. More than anything I wanted to work the magic that these authors were doing to me, getting me lost in books and poems and stories for hours upon hours at a time.”

 After receiving his Masters of Arts in English (MA), he hopes to further his English educational career and get his doctorate, but he may end up getting his Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

 “Post-grad plans are a bit scattered depending on how I specialize,” Naskrent said. “Transitioning into the doctorate is definitely a possibility, especially if I find an area that I’m very interested in and want to conduct more research in. Another educational opportunity I could purse is the MFA in fiction or poetry. I’ve been published in both genres in a few different magazines, and the MFA opens up an avenue to become a tenure-track professor without the Ph.D.”

 However, Naskrent does have multiple avenues to venture to if he does not pursue an educational career.

 “If I don’t go further in my education, my interests are more specific,” Naskrent said. “I would love to work in a publishing house to some extent. Being a literary agent would be absolutely amazing, but the money in publishing — on the creative side at least — has dried up over the last few decades.”

 Naskrent is also “really interested” in game-design and e-sports, so a future in video games could benefit him as well.

 “I’ve always had a pipe-dream doing some creative writing for a video game company,” Naskrent said. “Or else organizing player profiles and narrative story arcs in professional gaming settings. In much the same way the tabloids make narratives out of athletes — for example, the Collin Kaepernick debacle is almost entirely manufactures by media.”

 In 2015, Naskrent won third place in the Cardell Larner Poetry Award for poetry, and in 2016 he won first and third place for the same award in both poetry and fiction.

 Naskrent has not had much time to submit any writing to magazines due to finishing his BA and working on his MA, but he “intends to get back on that as soon as possible.”