Posted by Katie Waring, Managing Editor for 3.1
One of the best parts of Gandy Dancer is our policy of rotating editors every semester. Each issue has two new Managing Editors, which brings a new flavor and perspective to our journal. Katie was the Head Creative Nonfiction Editor for 2.2, while Lucia served as the Head Poetry Editor. As we transition into the upcoming semester, we thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves and let readers get to know us as the new co-pilots of GD 3.1.
Lucia: What are you looking forward to the most working as Managing Editor for GD? Besides working with me, of course. ; )
Katie: Meeting all of the new editors! It’s always exciting to meet people who share a passion with you. It’ll be great to meet a whole new bunch of literary lovers and see what insight they bring to each submission.
L: Katie, I know you’re at the Stony Brook Southampton MFA & Writers Conference—can you tell me about that?
K: It’s amazing! There’s maybe about 100 of us here, split between the different workshops and everyone I’ve met so far is super friendly. I’m taking a memoir workshop with Roger Rosenblatt, who has published several critically-acclaimed memoirs, and is just generally a cool guy. I sat next to Terrance Hayes at a reading a few nights ago (insert fangirl shrieks), which was just pretty freakin’ awesome. Billy Collins is teaching a workshop here too, among a lot of other great novelists/poets/essayists. It’s been a fantastic week so far and I feel very fortunate to be here.
L: Would you talk about your current historical project on epileptic colonies & eugenics?
K: Yes! So about 20 minutes south of Geneseo is a little town called Sonyea. In the early 1900s, Sonyea was home to a colony for epileptics–the buildings are still there and are being used as part of Groveland Correctional Facility. The book I’m writing is part investigation, part memoir, and I’m currently researching how this colony was formed (our very own William Pryor Letchworth played a hand!), why epileptics were segregated from society, and ties from early American eugenics & sterilization policies (in regards to epileptics & the mentally ill) to Nazi Germany. I’ll also be writing a bit about my dad and his struggles with epilepsy.
L: Do you generally focus on historical nonfiction versus the personal essay?
K: No, not really. This is the first historical project I’ve taken on, and it was only because Professor Perri assigned our nonfiction class to write a creative essay involving research. I tend to think about the piece more as “investigative journalism” than “historical nonfiction” though, since there’s a great deal of research involved–it’s very hard to find information about these topics online or in contemporary books.
L: What are some of your writing pet peeves?
K: There’s a few. One of the biggest is when writers put periods outside the quotation marks in dialogue–it’s a small thing, but that always jumps out at me.
L: What’s your superpower?
K: Tripping over seemingly invisible objects.
L: What song would open the movie of your life?
K: I put iTunes on shuffle to answer this question and it came up with “Bad Horse 2” from Dr. Horrible.
L: Guilty pleasure?
K: Curling up in my bed with a bag of popcorn and binge-watching pretty much anything on Netflix.
L: Favorite font?
K: I actually don’t have one. I know, I know–insert gasps of surprise and horror.
L: What work of literature do you always come back to?
K: Probably Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.
L: What is your favorite GD piece?
K: That’s a tough one! Right now, I’d probably have to say “Holes and Patches” by Meghan Kearns from issue 2.2. It’s a nonfiction essay with a beautiful story and great characters.
L: What is something you would like to change about Gandy?
K: I think our biggest challenge right now is widening our audience–we need to make sure every SUNY student interested in art/literature/creative writing knows about us and knows to submit their work to us/read GD.
L: What are you reading right now?
K: Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff & War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black
L: What contemporary author do we all need to read?
K: Cheryl Strayed! Seriously, check her out. She’s da bomb.
Katie: What are you most looking forward to next semester, both in regards to GD and otherwise?
Lucia: In terms of Gandy, I’m especially pumped to see the aesthetic direction the new section editors take each genre. In terms of otherwise, I’m excited for my other internships with VIDA & Writers & Books in Rochester, as well as a new reading series, The Segue, Amy Bishop & I are starting in the fall for both Geneseo students & faculty, in addition to local writers.
K: When did you first start writing poetry?
L: I was 18, spring semester of freshman year.
K: Your go-to guilty pleasure food?
L: Lays crinkle cut chips & Bison french onion dip.
K: Favorite Geneseo hangout?
L: That field on Temple Hill across from the B&B.
K: You’re taking a directed study next semester with Lytton Smith, correct? Do you know what you’ll be working on with Professor Smith?
L: Yes! In a very Lucia fashion I had always planned on taking a directed study the fall of my senior year with the Geneseo poetry professor, with specific plans to assemble a chapbook, write, write, write, & put the final touches on a delirious number of MFA applications.
K: Favorite punctuation?
L: Ampersand! Although, I’m not sure if it counts… A close second would be the revolving [penis] doors, i.e. :—, —:
K: What do you think is the best/most unique part of GD?
L: I love that we are truly student run, &, as a result of the biannual rotation of positions, our journal is malleable and changing. We are not bound by stale tradition or aesthetic. Each group brings something new & exciting to the table.
K: What would you say is the best class you’ve taken at Geneseo so far?
L: Ooh, that’s hard. I love school. Either “Sociology of Deviance” with Dr. William Lofquist or “Major Authors: Edwidge Danticat” with Dr. Maria Lima.
K: What are your hopes for GD, long term? What do you want it to accomplish in the future?
L: I have a vested interest in Gandy Dancer’s continued success as a member of its staff & as a former contributor in 2.1. But more than that, I am an adamant supporter of small presses & small journals. They are the lifeblood of the contemporary literary scene; they bring voices to the forefront that would otherwise not be heard. I want Gandy Dancer to continue to expand & grow its submission pool so it can harness the best possible voices in our SUNY community.
K: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done so far this summer?
L: Two garbage plates, one weekend.
K: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
L: Someplace warm, hopefully with a bicycle.
K: Favorite poetry collection of all time?
L: Oof. It changes. Right now: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood for sure. It is thebomb.com/worththehype.
K: If you weren’t a poet, what might you pursue as a career?
L: Oh god, that’s just sad to think about. I mean, I love to argue and I’m tough (read: bitch). Also, while I am logical, I am very passionate about what I believe in. Maybe some sort of activist? Or something political // lawyer-y. A coworker of mine once told me that he is convinced I will do something that requires a pantsuit everyday because I get shit done.
K: Finally (and most importantly): what are your thoughts on pandas?
L: 10/10 would recommend.
Katie Waring is a senior Creative Writing major at Geneseo from eastern Long Island. She has previously been a Fiction Intern for The Adirondack Review and an Editorial Intern for Dan’s Papers. In her free time, when not working on Gandy Dancer or befriending stray cats in town, she can be found writing her first book, which focuses on epileptic colonies and eugenics in early twentieth century America. She hopes to one day complete an MFA in Creative Nonfiction.
Lucia LoTempio studies literature at SUNY Geneseo, class of 2015. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, she plans to get an MFA in a place where there are no “seasons,” just the potential to be sweating 24/7. Her poetry has been or will be featured in Weave Magazine, The Boiler: A Journal of New Literature, and Gandy Dancer, as well as reviewed by Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. She was the 2014 winner of the Mary A. Thomas Award in Poetry and her work has been nominated for the AWP Intro Journals Project. This fall, she is interning for VIDA and for Writers & Books in Rochester. You can find her on Twitter.