Emerging Voices – Spencer Young


Jeff Turner

Emerging Voices is a series of profiles following writers, artists and performers currently studying at UNO. The profiles cover the personalities of these various writers and the projects they’re currently working on. For this installment, Gateway Contributor Jeff Turner spoke to UNO Senior Spencer Young…

Young is a Senior double majoring in British Literature and in the Writer’s Workshop with a Concentration in Fiction and Poetry.

“For myself, writing is simply inevitable,” said Spencer Young, a UNO senior double majoring in British Literature and the Writer’s Workshop. “I can’t provide a specific memory that ties my love for writing to a desire to be a writer because I don’t think there is one.”

The first story Spencer Young ever wrote was a piece from 3rd grade titled “Blue Death: Death Comes to Earth.”

“It was about this goliath snake from Neptune who came to Earth every 1000 years and destroyed civilizations,” Young elaborated.

He has wanted to write ever since and has continued to evolve and improve. Young’s current projects are, by his estimation, deeply personal.

“I’m writing a lot about loss: loss of my faith, loss of my innocence and loss of my identity,” he said.

Young is the current Poetry Editor for 13th Floor Magazine. He has been participating in the Literary Magazine course since its inception in the Spring Semester of 2019. He has taken the course twice. He has found his experience at 13th Floor to be extremely rewarding.

“I definitely felt a sense of responsibility in deciding which poems would appear in this issue. There were a lot of great submissions and we had to make some tough cuts,” Young said.

“The privilege I have been afforded to work with 13th Floor is not lost on me.”

Young also tries to be a disciplined reader.

“For fiction, I’ve read “Normal People” by Sally Rooney and “Trick” by Domenico Starnone,” he said. “With poetry I’ve read collections by Diane Seuss, Ilya Kaminsky, Terrance Hayes and Nebraska natives Erik Campbell and Amy Plettner. I want to specifically highlight “The Deaf Republic” by Ilya Kaminsky—certain lines in that book still ring in my mind. It is essential reading in America’s new political climate.”

Young counts “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley as a favorite work of his.

“On my second read, I realized how deeply our lives are connected to the natural world and its entropy. Shelley is still teaching me new things,” Young said.

Young’s current preferred medium to write in is poetry, however his experience in writing is far more diverse than that.

“Two years ago, I could count on my fingers the number of poems I’d written,” he said.

Young had worked in fiction for some time, but he felt a gradual shift into writing poetry.

“Today, poetry is where I find inspiration and passion, but I’m certainly open to that changing again in the future,” he said.

He hopes to experiment further with fiction in the near future and will graduate from UNO in the Winter of 2019. He is looking at MFA programs at schools in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota, among others and is excited about the future.

“I thrive in an academic setting, and I hope to continue to bloom wherever I find myself next,” Young said.