Top of page

Interview With PLC Intern Dylan Orshefsky

Share this post:

The following is an interview with Dylan Orshefsky, who recently completed his internship at the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center.

PLC Intern Dylan Orshefsky
PLC Intern Dylan Orshefsky

Where and what do you study? How did you intend your internship to relate to your studies/college experience?

I am a senior at Georgetown University, and I’m majoring in English and Computer Science. At Georgetown, I founded the Creative Writing Club (now in its third year!). I saw this internship as an opportunity to experience arts administration at the professional level. It’s definitely been a stark difference from my collegiate environment, but it’s also been an extension of what I was learning on my own.

Tell us about your first day as an intern—what was it like?

I was incredibly nervous; this is/was my first internship, and I had no idea what to expect. That said, the staff immediately made me feel welcomed and showed me around the Library, including the mind-bogglingly beautiful view from the Poet Laureate’s office—so it wasn’t long before I felt comfortable.

What did you learn about the Poetry and Literature Center and/or Library of Congress during your internship?

So many things, not the least of which is that it doesn’t matter how small your team is when it comes to getting incredible things done. When I started at the PLC, I was shocked to find out that the entire office comprised three people. It was up to the staff to plan and execute all 40+ events a year? I couldn’t believe it. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say; this little office does so much, and it has shown me the power of a good team.

What was the highlight of your internship?

My favorite event was the “From the Black Arts Movement to Cave Canem” symposium held in June. The symposium featured three panels, each going into detail about the work behind a writer’s life and the business/organization end of the literary world, not to mention much discussion and poetry about/of the leaders of the Black Arts Movement. I loved it because it was a special glimpse into what challenges these writers and leaders had faced, and how they had responded to them. If I stay in the world of the literary arts, I hope to demonstrate the same values and work ethic that pervaded the conversation that day.

Do you have a funny anecdote about your time at the Poetry & Literature Center?

At the aforementioned symposium, fellow intern Connor MacVarish and I were lucky enough to attend a lunch reception for Library guests/speakers. I immediately felt like a fish out of water. I’m generally known as a pretty gregarious person, but after grabbing some food I placed myself in the most inconspicuous corner I could find. I stood there doing my best to not make eye-contact with the Newbery Award winners, National Book Award winners, and publishing VPs for a solid fifteen minutes before the head of the Poetry and Literature Center noticed my minor distress and urged me to go make conversation. More than once felt like I was standing in the wrong place, or saying the wrong things, and generally like I didn’t quite belong—but I did my best to open up. I got to ask one of the aforementioned VPs about her talk, and what she liked most about her job in publishing. I got to speak with poets and novelists, with staffers and teachers, and in the end I learned a lot and had a fantastic time.