Category Archives: Uncategorized


Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Posted by Jess Vance, Creative Nonfiction Reader for Issue 9.2

There is a pile of unread books on my bookshelf that have been quietly mocking me for years. These are books I’ve bought (and a few borrowed from friends whom I hope don’t expect them back) with excitement. Books by authors I like, subjects which interest me; books I shouldn’t have to fight myself to read. Yet, I never seemed to have the time to start them—and then in March of 2020 we all gained a lot more free time.

Continue reading

Comments Off on To-Read…Later.

Filed under Uncategorized

Starting A New Writing Project

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Posted by Maria Pawlak, Fiction Editor for issue 9.2

Picture this: the perfect writing playlist is pulled up on Spotify. Your favorite pen rests beside a pristine notebook (you needed another brand new one for this project, of course), and the coffee you reheated in the microwave steams gently in front of your fully charged laptop. It’s perfect. Now, you think, I’ll finally be able to start my next big writing project.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Starting A New Writing Project

Filed under Uncategorized

Writing into Your Fear

Posted by Hannah McSorley, GD Fiction Reader for 7.1

At the beginning of this semester I decided I was going to do things that I was scared to do—and number one on that list: write a creative nonfiction essay about being born without some of the muscles in my left leg.

This is not a new topic for me. In fact, most of my early childhood writing attempts took on this topic. Despite my numerous attempts to use writing, specifically fiction, as a tool to understand and communicate my experience, I always ended up abandoning what I’d written. This time I decided that nonfiction was the way to approach this material. I determined that I would see my essay through to a final draft, even if I decided not to share it. Continue reading

Comments Off on Writing into Your Fear

Filed under Blog, Uncategorized

Dearest Readers

Dearest Readers,

Welcome to issue 6.2 of Gandy Dancer, the twelfth in publication so far. This will be our last issue as managing editors, and we feel honored to have had the opportunity to embark on this journey with you. As we reflect on our year with Gandy Dancer, there are many things that could be said, but we want to focus on the places we started from and the places we may soon find ourselves. Where you, as a reader, may be starting a new journey as you turn this page, and where you may end up after you put the journal back on your shelf alongside other colorful covers and stories waiting to be told.

Perhaps even more than others, this issue transports us—taking us to Europe and the Middle East, the American South, to cities, and to the ocean.  The writers included here take us all over the world and take us also to more intangible, intimate places. Pouring over these pieces, we recognized a feeling that kept circulating through stories, essays, and poems—a feeling of hope for the new and a comfort in the old places and spaces. Matthew Cullen’s essay “Self on the Straßenbahn” focuses on a narrator’s time in Germany and his growing understanding of self. Marissa Canerelli’s short story, “Buckyboy” takes us to a farm where the characters come to understand the power of the natural world. Lucia LoTempio’s poem “Hometown, Unraveling” returns us to the city, and explores what it feels like to return to a place you once called home. Isabel Owen’s poem, “the space between daylight & the darkness of the east river tunnel” examines summer love and reveals just how evocative place can be.

We may feel isolated at times—as just one school in the vast SUNY system, as tiny parts of the larger literary community—which makes it necessary to travel outside of our bubbles in order to recognize this world for all its connectedness. Getting the chance to attend this year’s AWP convention served as this type of reminder for us. Although we attended panels that were seemingly disparate, we found that it was inevitable for connections to appear between them, and among the hoard of over 10,000 other writers, publishers, and educators, we still managed to repeatedly run into familiar faces. We’d like to think that Gandy Dancer has the potential to offer something similar—a vessel, perhaps, by which the vastness and odd synchronicity of the world may be exposed. We are always standing and breathing in a space—whether that be a coffee shop in early morning or so far inside the mind that for a moment, no one can reach us. We hope you find this issue to be a place of wonder: a place where you can discover bits of yourself in these pages. 


Meghan Fellows & Lily Codera

April 2018

Comments Off on Dearest Readers

Filed under Uncategorized

Dear Readers—

Welcome to the tenth issue of Gandy Dancer. If you are reading this, we’ve completed our second (and last) semester as managing editors, and we’re on our way out into the post-graduation world. Right now, we might be up to our eyelids in champagne, or waxing poetic over the golden years of our college days, or screaming into a hole in the ground while Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” plays and the camera pulls away.

We’ll try not to get too sappy. That being said, graduating means reflecting about what we are leaving behind, and what lies ahead. Rising to the surface of these thoughts are the simple, slim volumes of Gandy Dancer we’ve helped bring into the world. Each issue of Gandy is a record of time and memory: days or years of experiences and thoughts turned into stories, essays, poetry, paintings, sculptures, and photos. Months of reading, editing, combing through hundreds of carefully-crafted works of art, selecting what we think is the best creative work from across the State University of New York system.

Working with Gandy Dancer for two semesters, we’ve come to appreciate the privilege of the unwavering support of SUNY Geneseo’s English Department—especially our patient and resourceful secretary Michele Feeley, and the Parry family, whose generous patronage allows us to honor the most accomplished essay published in Gandy Dancer during the 2016-2017 academic year. Ultimately, Gandy Dancer is the work of a family of students, faculty, and staff, who are beginning or following through on lifelong commitments to the arts and the written word.

That family, of course, extends to you, our contributors and our readers. In our last letter to you, we underscored the fact that a literary journal, especially Gandy, is a gathering place. Our goal is to act as a community for writers and readers across the state—a place to share our thoughts, our concerns, our ambitions, our fears, our lives as writers and people. Throughout the year, we’ve noticed that this idea of a journal as a gathering place, while powerful, is also passive, and doesn’t do justice to the art and writing in this issue. How can it, when to make art you must not be passive, must not simply gather, but experience, take from reality, and create something of it? How can it, when our moment in history is so shrouded with confusion, isolation, austerity, and war? Gandy Dancer is a printed gathering place, yes, but we would like to take it further; we propose this journal as a place of concentrated witness.

Over our two years in Gandy Dancer, we’ve seen the concerns of the work, and the priorities of the staff selecting it, shift deeper into explorations of the ever-growing tensions and conflicts of ordinary life. In this issue, we come face to face with the difficult truth—the sorrow—of life in America. In Nathan Lipps’ poem “Ablutions in the Dark,” we experience the slow and lonely pain of age, coupled with the cycle of Spring, the cruelty of April. Sarah Steil’s “Steadying” is a second person story that draws you into the developing relationship between a damaged mother and her daughter. Jasmine Cui’s “Apologia,” an essay on the cruelty of chance, unflinchingly portrays a family’s struggle with disability and alcoholism. Peggy Wen’s exquisite, contemplative paintings and sketches bring us into quotidian, abandoned domestic spaces, and into the gaze of resolute, yet isolated women. While this issue succeeds in confronting dark truths, there are lighter shades to explore, such as Chloe Forsell’s “Fifteen Ways of Looking at a Privy,” which is as much a meditation on presence as it is a history: a momentary glance from an outhouse in the woods into our ability to imagine the future. In addition to the compelling work included in this issue of Gandy Dancer, we are happy to announce that the Parry award for nonfiction this year goes to Maya Bergamasco for “Absolute Pitch,” published in 5.1. In this careful portrait, the author reflects on the relationship with her mother and its legacy in the author’s life.

This volume’s published works highlight the value of the persistence of the arts. In this place of witness, these student artists create a place to work together to understand ourselves and our current reality. With great pleasure and gratitude, we present to you these thoughtful, accomplished pieces. We hope they speak to you, and compel you to witness, record, reflect, and continue to share with us.

Evan Goldstein & Oliver Diaz
April 2017

Comments Off on Dear Readers—

Filed under Uncategorized

Our Responsibility As Writers Under Trump

     Posted by Isabel Keane, GD Fiction Reader for 5.2

    “In the dark times, will there also be singing?

      Yes, there will be singing.

      About the dark times.”

-“Motto” by Bertolt Brecht

Do you remember when you were younger, learning history in school and thinking, “If I was alive then, I would have…”

You’re alive now. What you’re doing now is what you would have done then. Donald Trump was inaugurated into office a little over a month ago, and already the arts are in danger. Continue reading

Comments Off on Our Responsibility As Writers Under Trump

Filed under Blog, Uncategorized

Gandy Dancer Reviews Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Posted by Hannah McSorley, GD Fiction Reader for 5.2

I first read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff over the summer following a recommendation by my older sister, and I have since recommended this book, as well as all of Groff’s other stories and books, to everyone who knows me. I couldn’t put this book down!

Fates and Furies captures the marriage between Lotto and Mathilde Satterwhite. The book is split into two parts titled “Fates” and “Furies” respectively, and it is a fantastic exploration of marriage and it raises the question of how well we know others in our lives. Continue reading

Comments Off on Gandy Dancer Reviews Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Filed under Blog, Uncategorized

Issue 4.1 Launch Party!

Friends of Gandy Dancer, we invite you to our launch party for Issue 4.1! We have been working diligently all semester to bring this issue of GD together, and we’re pleased to announce that we will be presenting our finished journal at the launch party on December 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. As you may know, Gandy Dancer publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art from writers and artists all over the SUNY system. Our launch party serves as an opportunity to bring this vibrant writing community together to celebrate the publication of our latest issue, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Print copies of the fall issue will be hot off the press and available for purchase. Join us for readings by the authors of 4.1, food and drink, and the opportunity to pick up your very own Gandy swag. Brendan Mahoney, Sara Munjack, Robbie Held, Jeremy A. Jackson, and others will be attending to read their stories, essays, and poems. Brunch food and other light refreshments will be provided. And you can’t miss our spread of Gandy swag—pencils, mugs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pins, and more. Additionally, partygoers will be able to buy raffle tickets for $3 to enter to win a holiday basket with a T-shirt, mug, and brand new copy of Issue 4.1. We hope to see you there!



Comments Off on Issue 4.1 Launch Party!

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Continue reading

Comments Off on An Interview with Monica Wendel

Filed under Uncategorized

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

Continue reading

Comments Off on Summer Reading

Filed under Uncategorized