Izzy Martens
Izzy Martens

What is your major?

I am an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing (Creative Non-Fiction) and a minor in Media Studies.

When do you expect to graduate?

May 2016!

What brought you to CSU?

CSU has always appealed to me — my older sister went here — but I grew up in Boulder and after high school I wanted to get out of Colorado for a little bit. I spent my first year studying in Northern California, but I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me. After my first year I left California and worked as a waitress for six months, back in Boulder, in order to finance a six-month backpacking trip throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. When I came home from that amazing trip I knew Fort Collins was where I wanted to be. Colorado is a hard state to leave for too long!

Favorite English teacher, class, assignment?

All the English professors I’ve had at CSU so far have been amazing; it’s hard to choose just one! But taking Intermediate Creative Non-Fiction with E.J. Levy was, without a doubt, one of the most educational and inspirational experiences thus far in my writing career. Levy consistently provided us with readings by phenomenal authors and was always encouraging us to expand our ideas and break away from our comfort zones. Writing my memoir for her class and having the experience of workshopping everyone’s material was great. I also have to give a special shoutout to Rebecca Kennedy and Jeremy Proctor. I have taken two classes with each of them and would gladly take more; they’re both great professors!

You are currently studying abroad in New Zealand. Tell us more about that!

Yes! I am studying abroad in Wellington, New Zealand. I just finished a two-week journey throughout the glorious South Island; the scenery here is truly unbelievable! Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and it is a phenomenal city. It is bursting with cafes, restaurants and art galleries. It is a city buzzing with life and art; the perfect place to get inspired! New Zealand is a beautiful country — there are mountains and volcanoes, beaches and beautiful clear water. Plus, everyone is so laid-back and friendly. We try and go on adventures every weekend. The exploration is endless! Everyone who has an opportunity to come here definitely should.


What classes are you taking?

I am focusing on my Media Studies minor while I’m here and taking Gender and Race in the Media, Communication and Technological Change, and Television Studies. But I also chose to take a class called Life Writing, which is a part of creative non-fiction, but focuses more on writing about others instead of yourself — biography, family memoir, etc. — which is new for me. My class is only about 12 students, which makes it perfect for discussing everyone’s writing and ideas. We don’t even have desks! We sit in chairs in a circle, or on pillows on the floor, it’s great!

What are you reading/writing? What are you currently working on?

I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Now, funnily enough, I’m reading Love, in Theory by our very own E.J. Levy! I’m also working on Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I just kind of discovered his writing and am on a bit of a Gaiman-binge.

Last year I started my very own website, an online journal titled Joke Life (www.jokelife.co). It is a place where I can publish my own pieces of writing and a platform for other young writers to showcase their work as well. In addition to short pieces of writing I also interviews various different types of artists — musicians, photographers, painters. So I am always working on that. It is a great way to motivate myself to keep writing and practicing and also, hopefully, to help some other young people get their work out there!

What is your favorite book and/or who is your favorite author?

This is a seriously hard question to answer, so I am going to cheat a little bit and go with the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling :). But overall I really like reading memoir, since that’s the writing style closest to my own.

My mom always told me that language is the most beautiful and important thing in the world. It is not only the most prominent way in which we express ourself, but it has the ability to transport us, to teach us, to entertain us, to move us. Studying English is about more than just reading and writing — it teaches you how to think in new ways; it shows you so many different perspectives. It gives you an insight into how all sorts of people experience the world; their thoughts, and their imaginings of the past, present and future. Studying English is the ultimate teacher of human experience, and since we are humans, who are having this experience on earth, I would argue studying English, or at least dipping your toes into it, is one of the most important things you can do.

What’s the most important or interesting thing you’ve learned so far at CSU?

I’ve learned that the talent here is boundless. I’ve met so many amazing writers and had the honor to read so many amazing pieces of writing written by students. I am consistently blown away by the various different styles and writing techniques the writers in this program utilize. Everyone has a special voice and that is so fun to see.

What advice do you have for English majors?

To go for it! And go for it all out. Write what you want, and don’t be afraid to share. Read as much as you can, because you’ll be surprised by what you can learn. Take it all in, because these four years go by fast!


Where do you see yourself in five years?

Working on my memoir, traveling the world, doing yoga and loving life. Maybe I’ll have a job in the magazine industry (that’s the dream), but most importantly focusing on experiencing all the beautiful things life has to offer.