Author Archives: Courtney O'Gorman

New Kids on the Block: Meet Your Managing Editors for 4.2!

Have no fear, your new managing editors are here! As the spring semester murmurs to life and the windy Geneseo weather welcomes us all back it’s time for your new managing editors, Courtney and Christy (C2), to sit down with some coffee and ask each other the questions that matter:

Let’s get this party started:

The Dream Team: Ready for Action!

The Dream Team: Ready for Action!

How did you first get involved with Gandy Dancer?

Courtney: One of my friends recommended the class to me, actually. I was looking at courses for junior year and wanted to know more about it. My friend was in the class at the time and told me about how it was a really hands-on class where you got to put together a literary magazine full of prose, poetry, and visual art from students all across the SUNY system. The publishing industry is so multifaceted and is something that has always intrigued me as well so I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did though because I fell in love with everything about Gandy Dancer (GD) and kept coming back to it. As an avid reader and writer, being involved in this class has exposed me to so many fascinating aspects of the literary world that I never knew about before GD.

Christy: In the middle of my junior year I was perusing the course list on KnightWeb in a sleep-deprived-registration-is-tomorrow-morning-frenzy when I happened upon this gem of a class. I, somewhat nervously mostly excitedly, decided to sign up and I’m so glad that I did because it ended up being an incredible experience. At the start of the class I knew virtually nothing about literary magazines, literary magazine culture, or how they functioned and survived. It was, not to quote Aladdin, a whole new world! Not only did it widen my horizons within the creative writing/literary universe but also getting to read through and edit submissions from other young writers really helped me to grow as a writer and as a poet. I’m so excited to be back! Continue reading

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An Interview with Monica Wendel

Posted by Amy Elizabeth Bishop, GD Managing Editor for 3.2

Post Script began in the fall of 2013, as a way to connect writing alumni back into current student work. Our first Post Script contributor was  a creative nonfiction piece by Rachel Svenson, SUNY Geneseo, class of 2010. Since then, poetry by Emily Webb (SUNY Geneseo, class of 2013) and Nate Pritts (SUNY Brockport) have been featured in Gandy Dancer. This semester, we’re proud to feature three of Monica Wendel’s poems in the Post Script section. Monica is a SUNY Geneseo alum, class of 2005. One of our Managing Editors for Issue 3.2, Amy Elizabeth Bishop, sat down with her for an interview about writing advice, creating a literary life after college, and her own writing success.

Amy Elizabeth Bishop (AEB): What started you on the poetry path and how did you maintain your literary life after leaving Geneseo and your MFA program at NYU? You’ve published two chapbooks, one collection, and numerous poems online and in print.

Monica Wendel

Monica Wendel

Monica Wendel (MW): The good part about staying in the city where I did my MFA—well, there were a lot of good parts—but pertinent to that question, I made a lot of really good friends at NYU and we stayed friends. My social life includes going to poetry readings, having dinner and workshopping, and other things that sound pretentious when I write them like this. Hmm. The best way of explaining it is that there’s no distinction between my life-life and my literary-life. I don’t ever feel like I’m taking off one hat and putting on another; writing is simply part of how I function in the world.

To go back to what started me on the poetry path, there are a few answers. The idealistic answer is that poetry is fulfilling, connects me with others, is beautiful and meaningful, etc. And that idealistic answer is true! My best times at Geneseo were spent in creative writing classes. But there’s another, less tactful answer that’s also true, which is that I like being good at things, and even better is to be the best at something. I like winning contests. I like seeing my name in print. Those things happened the more I devoted myself to poetry.

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Summer Reading

Posted by Rachel Hall, GD Faculty Advisor

Ok, Gandy Dancer 3.2 was fat and juicy, but now what? I asked some Gandy Dancers and FOGD (Friends of Gandy Dancer) what they are reading or planning to read this summer. I also asked them about their best summer read ever as well as what might surprise us about their bookshelves. Here’s how they responded:

3.2 Managing Editor, Amy Bishop, plans to read in three genres!  She says, “for non-fiction, I really want to get my hands on Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’ve read a lot about both books and friends have highly recommended them too. Poetry-wise, I NEED to read Danez Smith’s new collection [insert] boy and finally get around to reading Richard Siken’s Crush. As for fiction, I never got around to A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, which was on my book stack at school and The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, which just came up on the NYT Bestseller’s List and looks fascinating.”

Our new PR specialist, Jenna Colozza is tackling BIG books this summer: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Les Miserables.  She also plans on reading the several issues of Slice magazine she received during the semester and couldn’t get to because she was reading for her classes.

Slice Magazine

Slice Magazine

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A Semester in Review: Launching Issue 3.2

Posted by Anna Watson, GD CNF Reader & Art Curator for 3.2

Hey, all of you wonderful fans!

Yesterday was the launch party for our spring issue of Gandy Dancer. I’ll try not to be too overly sentimental about the whole experience; however, as a first-time Editing and Production Workshop student—and a soon-to-be alumna of SUNY Geneseo—I feel like I learned a surplus of invaluable knowledge regarding all the hard work and communication (between readers, editors, and writers, alike) that goes into producing a literary journal. Continue reading

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Teaser Trailer: Issue 3.2

Posted by Christine Davis, GD Nonfiction Reader for 3.2

The time has come readers, writers, and lovers of words. Gandy Dancer 3.2 is almost here, ready for consumption! After months reviewing wonderful submissions in the categories of poetry, fiction, art, and non-fiction from students all over New York State, we have whittled down our numbers and emerged with a collection of some of our best work yet!

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Introducing Our Featured Artist for 3.2: James Mattson

Posted by Britina Cheng, GD Art Curator & Fiction Reader for 3.2

In our upcoming issue of Gandy Dancer, we are proud to introduce James Mattson, junior biology pre-med major at SUNY Geneseo, as our featured artist. His photography captivated the art editors. One, “Bridge to Fall” will grace the cover of our Spring issue, fitting with its bright and welcoming colors. He appropriates color differently in each of his photographs. “Bridge to Fall” emanates an Alice in Wonderland playful and curious tone. “Glow” a gentle photograph of a dock, has a deep everlasting glow that contrasts the bright lights of a city on the right. In contrast, the lack of color in “Nevermore” supports the ominous presence of a lone raven and silhouetted tree branches. Here, Mattson answers questions about his interest in photography and some of his influences.

Nevermore

Nevermore

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On the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

Posted by Devin Stabley-Conde, GD Poetry Editor for 3.2

As a native Buffalonian, I grew up immersed in all of the rich culture that the greater Buffalo area has to offer. From concerts at Town Ballroom to the bustle of small businesses on Elmwood Avenue, there is always something new to discover in the city. So when I discovered the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair (BSPBF) through a creative writing class, it came as no surprise.

The BSPBF was founded in 2006 by Chris Fritton and Kevin Thurston after organizing zine and art fairs in NYC and Toronto. In a blog post about organizing a fair in Buffalo, Fritton states, “Buffalo has such a rich literary tradition, but an even richer tradition of progressive work, experimentation, and cultural innovation … I wanted to create an event that reflected that ethos-something where DIY ethics and handmade objects were privileged, but also something that was affordable, inclusive, democratic, and egalitarian. I simply couldn’t believe that our city didn’t have one … if there were no venues to peddle our own work, we’d make the venue ourselves.” Continue reading

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Editing as a Writer: What I’ve Learned

Posted by Christie Tiberio, GD CNF Reader for 3.2

After many weeks of deliberation, the student editors of SUNY Geneseo’s Gandy Dancer have narrowed down submissions to our final selected works for the upcoming Spring issue! We are excited to present our sixth issue, particularly because of the extended effort of time, energy, and creative problem solving that was needed in order to bring the magazine to completion. As a writer, I learned a lot about the selection and editing process. It was interesting to see how a piece would or wouldn’t work in the context of the selected submissions, due to issues of style or format. In some cases, small revisions were needed—the placement of a space break or description, a more precise title. Once these small edits were made, the piece was ready for copy-editing. Continue reading

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Everything You Wanted to Know about Gandy Dancer But Were Afraid to Ask: An Interview with Faculty Advisor Rachel Hall

Posted by Rachael Kelly, GD CNF Reader for 3.2

Creative nonfiction reader Rachael Kelly chatted with GD’s very own Rachel Hall to get an in-depth look at the past, present, and future of Gandy Dancer.

Rachael Kelly (RK): What are three of your favorite things about being the faculty advisor for Gandy Dancer?

Rachel Hall

Rachel Hall

Rachel Hall (RH): There are so many things that I love about teaching the Editing and Production Workshop and being the Gandy Dancer faculty advisor. It’s great to work with the class and staff to build something together. As a writing teacher, I’m often in the position of critiquing students’ work, slapping grades on their efforts, so that it can feel as if we are on opposite sides of the enterprise: Critic versus writer. But with Gandy, we’re working together to build something and I love that collaborative work. And I get to see talents the students have that might not show up in a regular classroom, skills like social media savvy or an eye for design. I also love seeing the journal come together—each semester, it feels a bit magical, though, of course, there is lots of hard work involved. That may be four things, but all are important! Continue reading

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Poetry, Language, and Learning: How I Came to Love Words

Posted by Christy L. Agrawal, GD Poetry Reader for 3.2

“Led by language, led by intuitive leaps of thought, a poem does not presume.” – Kazim Ali

When I was younger my mother and I used to play something we called ‘the poem game’ every night before I went to bed. There were two versions of the poem game, the mom’s-tired version in which we would take out a Shel Silverstein book, place it between us on the bed like a sacred object, and take turns closing our eyes and pointing to random pages, delving into poem after poem and reading them aloud in an unspoken competition to draw the most laughter out of the other.

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