Beauty and the Beast: A Review of Kai Carlson-Wee’s RAIL

Posted by Abby Barrett, GD Poetry Reader for 7.1

In Kai Carlson-Wee’s RAIL, desperate yet autonomous speakers view the beautiful landscapes of western America from the vantage point of moving trains, and their journeys illustrate how U.S. capitalistic values destroy this same landscape and the human dreams within. The speakers in Carlson-Wee’s poems observe pollution, watch animals die, and smoke crystal meth; they embrace a lover, listen mournfully to the loon’s cry, and self-medicate with orange juice and oatmeal. There is at once a drive for existence in these speakers; “Her breath made me shake. / It was full of so much life. For the next / few days I could hear it in every word I said” (67), and yet, a fear of what this life holds: “We are held in a light so perfect it grows inconsistent. / Becomes like the windwheel cries on the prairie” (46). Continue reading

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Electric Arches: A Review of Eve L. Ewing’s Sci-Fi Love Song to black America

Posted by Olivia Martel Cockerham, GD Art Editor and Poetry Reader for 7.1

In her first book of poems, sociologist Eve L. Ewing takes the reader traveling through time. Beneath its stunning cover by Trinidadian artist Brianna McCarthy, Electric Arches reveals magic powers and “moon men,” machines that let you speak back into history and receive voices of the past. It traces the legacies of historic African American figures to the routine and daily struggle of black people facing abuse from police and civilians alike; the past and present of black America bleeding together and reaching, stretching out to hopeful tomorrows.

In “The Device” Ewing creates a vision of the near future as black people across America come together and build a machine to realize their communal dream—which is at once miraculous and tellingly humble—to hear from their ancestors, whose voices have historically been silenced. The overarching desire to uncover or recover history, identity (something so many of us take for granted) continues throughout the collection, cultural narratives crossing over with those of womanhood and coming of age, experiences told through the lives of Koko Taylor and Matthew Henson, adolescence against a backdrop of Prince and Erykah Badu.

There is something amazingly intimate in Electric Arches. Ewing rhapsodizes on the mundane with poems like “Shea Butter Manifesto” and “Ode to Luster’s Pink Oil,” celebrating the rituals of her childhood and showing the familiar and the familial. These simple routine acts of personal grooming express the love of a mother, or the affection of a sibling. In “What I Talk About When I Talk About Black Jesus,” Ewing expresses the culture of religion-as-community, how it’s more about the people at the church than the sermons inside it—faith not in the Nazarene but in a grandmother in her Sunday clothes.

In “four boys on Ellis [a re-telling],” one in a series of retellings addressing systematic racism, a scene that is unfortunately familiar to any one of us: three young black boys, children, are detained by police. Before the story ends, however, the text is interrupted by Ewing’s own handwriting, scrawling a different path: she imagines the power to fly them away, willing them happy and unafraid, riding their bikes through the sky like E.T. She imagines them back home with their mothers, “eating cereal and watching Naruto” (because of course, of course they’d watch Naruto.)

At once tragic, joyful, and humorous, Ewing’s words convey tenderness and affection and near reverence for her subjects. One can find familiarity here, in that tenderness, and even if parts of the world she paints are alien to you (especially then), listen, and watch as she wills new endings into existence.

 

 

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Hilary Zaid’s Paper is White Presents a New Perspective on LGBTQ+ Issues

Posted by Cameron Rustay, GD Creative Non-Fiction Reader for Issue 7.1

Before going to guest novelist Hilary Zaid’s forum on her novel Paper is White, I didn’t know much about the book besides what I looked up on the Internet beforehand, to be honest. It’s nothing against Zaid or her novel, but amid the seemingly never ending amount of classwork reading and the encroaching midterm season, I don’t have much time to causally read, unfortunately. What did draw me to the forum was that I knew the novel dealt with LGBTQ+ topics, an interest of mine, and I wanted to hear about how a novel that’s main conflict is solved by the legalization of gay marriage still finds purpose today. Well, I can say that I went into the reading interested but left making a beeline to my apartment to order the book on Amazon (I forgot my credit card, otherwise I would have bought it at the event). Here’s why…

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The Statistics of Submitting: 5 Literary Magazines Looking Solely for Student’s Work

Posted by Brittany Pratt, GD Fiction Reader for 7.1

When I first started writing, I constantly entertained the idea that someone — another living, breathing human being — might, one day, read my work. I fantasized about people falling in love with my characters and trying to find the places I described. I all too quickly realized, however, publishing wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped.

 

The fact of the matter is my work was rejected — a lot. It’ll be rejected in the future, too. I know that, but luckily, I also know basic math. Therefore, I know sending work to more than one place increases your chance of being published by, well, a lot.

(I said I know basic math. That doesn’t mean I know statistics.)

Still, finding places to send your work can be difficult. Hours of combing through Google can result in a measly one or two publications accepting submissions with guidelines your pieces fit into, so I’ve compiled this list of five literary journals for student writers. Hopefully, I can spare someone else a few hours of frustration. You’re welcome, guys.

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GVCA’s New Deal Writing Competition

Posted by Connor Keihl, GD Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Issue 7.1

The Genesee Valley Council on the Arts is hosting their fourth annual New Deal Writing Competition! This is a short story competition where the writer is asked to use a painting chosen by the staff of GVCA as inspiration for their short story. For this year’s competition, we have selected Jacques Zucker’s “Fountain, Central Park” from our New Deal art gallery as your inspiration. The painting chosen is featured below.

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Titles Are Hard—But We Can Make Them Easier

Posted by William Antonelli, GD Fiction Reader for 6.2

Over the past few years, I’ve participated and had my work critiqued in countless writing workshops, each one varying in both content and usefulness. There’s only so much that university students, most of them amateur or beginning writers, can comment on in half an hour. Yet, if there’s one thing that’s been constant in every workshop I’ve attended, it’s this: when the time comes to comment on the work shopped piece’s title, everyone goes silent. Or, if they do speak up, it’s just to give a non-specific “I liked the title” or “I didn’t like the title.” Continue reading

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Captain Colin’s Top 5 Adventure Novels

Posted by Colin Kern, GD Creative Non-Fiction Reader for 6.2 

I define adventure as the process of putting one’s self into the unknown or unexplored with the intent of discovering something new and interesting before returning back to the safety of normality. In the 18th century tales of adventure were the most discussed topics in novels like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Although topics in literate no longer focus so intently on adventurous journeys, these novels hold certain historical properties in the literary world. Contemporary novels have a greater emphasis on the emotional and philosophical than their predecessors, so I have compiled a list of my five most noteworthy contemporary adventure novels that hopefully inspire you to venture off into the unknown as strongly as they have pushed me. Continue reading

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Four Lessons Joining the Gandy Dancer Team Will Teach You

Posted by Jennifer Taylor Johnson, GD Fiction Reader for 6.2

Whether your passion is writing and editing or you’re just looking for a class to fit your schedule in the fall, being a member of the Gandy Dancer team is not a decision you will regret. Joining the Gandy Dancer team is more than a grade on your transcript, it dedicating hard work and time into assembling the school’s literary journal and learning important life lessons along the way. Don’t believe me? Here are four lessons you will learn by being a reader for The Gandy Dancer. Continue reading

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Gandy Dancer Launch Party for 6.2

Posted by Alisa Mentor, GD Creative Non-Fiction Reader for 6.2 

It’s bittersweet to say that the time and effort invested in the production of Gandy Dancer 6.2 has finally come to an end. The hours of work, discussing, formatting, and rereading has paid off and left us with a physical representation of the sheer amount of passion the Gandy Dancer crew puts into each issue. On Thursday, May 3, we celebrated the newest addition to the Gandy Dancer family. Continue reading

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Kenyon Review Translates!

Posted by Noah Mazer, GD Co-Poetry Section Head for 6.2 

Two days before a group of Geneseo students in the Creative Writing track (myself included) were due to fly out to Tampa for the annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, I called a friend who was also going on the trip, to talk about the conference. It was my first time going to AWP, but she had attended the 2017 conference and I intended on picking her brain. Somewhere in our conversation, I mentioned that we were leaving in two days. Continue reading

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