Nathaniel Smith: A Speaker for our Generation
Nate Smith is a talented writer, poet and performer of spoken word.
One of my goals is to become a novelist. I hope I can start out for a while in publishing and gain some experience there, whether it is working for an editorial or literary agency. In my free time I’ll be working on this murder mystery novel involving psychological elements concerning PTSD.
Another goal of mine is to become an English teacher. I’m holding off at the moment but I’m aiming to go back to school for my Master’s in English and also a TESOL degree so I can teach English literature domestically and then English as a language internationally.
How did you come up with your story idea with the elements of PTSD and a murder mystery theme for your novel?
I came up with the story for my novel two ways: One, I had this amazing dream or vision (what have you) when I was sleeping that literally encompassed the layout of the novel, and two, I have two brothers both in the United States Marine Corps and they’re always sharing their stories with me so I wanted to incorporate that military background into it. My parents also have military history in their families.
What are some other things you aspire to do post-graduation?
I’m nearly done with schooling at the University of Florida but I’m not leaving Gainesville just yet because I’m working with the university administration to create a place where poets and other creative minds can gather and share their ideas, their works, and critique each other. Gainesville has so much untapped talent and it saddens me that these amazing local artists don’t know each other as intimately as I wish they did. It’ll be like an open mic style place but at the city-wide level, not just for UF. I’m hoping that we’ll have the ball rolling for sure come spring semester because there were a lot of setbacks in the fall but my motivation is at 100%. All the administrators seem as excited as I do about it, especially after we talked about how it would work. Plus, it’s a great start to get Gainesville and the 352 on the map in the world of creative places.
I’m not performing as much as I used to because I’m trying to get other poets to show their work and I’m also trying to establish an on campus workshop to help other students write better as well. I’m also hoping to either go touring with some friends of mine who are fantastic musicians and an up-and-coming band who are getting more popular in the Southeast. I will do that or start performing in some poetry slams and competitions to gain experience and create my own little career. Who knows?
What experience do you have in magazine publishing?
I’ve published for two or three student magazines and a couple anthologies as well. I’ve also published for a few local magazines and sent online material to the student newspaper. I do have one poem titled “Life of a Negro” that was published in a Chicago newsletter. It’s on page 5 of this link.
In the future, what mediums will you use to publish your work?
I’m talking to a publicist at an independent publishing company about my novel, but I might have it published 100% independently through Amazon or another site or maybe even turn to the university and see if they’ll accept it.
I’ve also worked for some previous magazines and that was actually fun, so I’ll probably continue through that medium. But I might also enlist and go through their public relations school for military discourse and gain experience there.
Where would you like to teach English as a language? Would you ever like to become a professor?
If I do teach English abroad I would like to teach in the Pacific Rim area. While at UF, I learned a lot about Asian culture. Japan’s unique history as a country and as an Asian/Western-economic power intrigues me especially.
I’m unsure of whether I would like to become a professor but I might consider it more seriously later. In my mind, today’s professors are bogged down with the administration threatening to cut their legs out from under them, students who care more about getting the “A” than learning the material and expanding their mindset, and other tenured professors who have lost the passion and love for teaching they once had. Plus, all the research they’re constantly doing is a big deterrent for me. I like writing but not writing dissertations per se.
What future do you see with the things you are working on for Gainesville? How will everything come together and what else do you hope to accomplish?
My plans for Gainesville will literally come together only through everyone’s support. The community, the university, everyone. Starting a program is easy; it’s the maintaining and survival of the program that is the difficult part.
I want to see others’ talents because I believe we were all given a talent we can use to make the world a better place.
Side note time.
To be honest, I was quite the introvert and shy type when I started my stint at UF. I didn’t go to parties and I wasn’t one to talk to people unless I needed to. Even my professors were frustrated with my unending silence. But, I would share my poetry with other friends on Facebook because they all seemed to enjoy it even though I felt uncomfortable about it being so public. However, I met this friend, Fred Caldwell, and he was a poet and writer as well. After he saw my poetry on Facebook he started taking me out to these open mic nights that happened locally on campus. Because he was my ride home, he created a cruel system where we wouldn’t leave until I had performed at least once on the stage behind the microphone. I was terrified at first, but as time went on and I got used to the feeling he showed me I had a great ability for spoken word, another more intense style of poetry that I have now come to love.
End side note. Back to the main point, I believe that if people share their talents, more people will be comfortable in coming out with their talents as well. It could make a difference in people’s lives and even show the importance of the arts and creativity in education and other areas of importance.
Where can we see some of your works?
You can check me out on YouTube, Facebook, and Tumblr. I mostly use Tumblr to archive all of my poetry; their system is really easy to understand, which makes me happy. Of course, YouTube is where all my performances are shown and my Facebook page allows you to see all kinds of poetry as well as a plethora of other local artists that I work with as well in the poetry and hip-hop scene.