Posted by Jeanna Foti, GD Fiction Reader for 5.2
With a new semester, comes a brand new issue of Gandy Dancer! As the submission deadline approaches, this semester’s new group of editors is eager to dive in and get started on issue 5.2. In the meantime, I’ve asked the new section heads a couple of questions in order to properly introduce them to our readers. This semester, we have two creative non-fiction co-editors, Josh DeJoy and Meghan Fellows. We have Jackie Shost as our fiction editor, Kallie Swyer as our poetry editor, and Noah Mazer as our art editor.
Jeanna Foti: What are you looking forward to as the CNF co-editors for this semester’s issue?
Meghan Fellows: As one of the section heads for CNF of this issue, I am looking forward to working with the other readers in my section, and picking the best pieces for Gandy Dancer. I’m excited to learn about everyone’s love of the craft, and have that show through in the pieces we choose.
Josh DeJoy: As CNF co-editor this semester, I’m looking forward to reading students’ responses to current events. Obviously there’s been a great deal of tumult in the past few months, and there are many issues to work through. I hope students are thinking critically and drawing interesting and artistically compelling conclusions–in all aspects of life. If nothing else, I hope what’s happening inspires people to question assumptions about art and society and do something innovative, even if it doesn’t work every time.
JF: What made you interested in the CNF section head position?
MF: I was interested in the CNF section head position because it is hands down my favorite genre to study/read. It’s personal and functions on so many different levels, and I want to explore everything I can about the genre. Being a section head lets me do that, and discuss the craft with others many times a week.
JD: I was interested in editing CNF largely because I was a reader for the genre last semester, which I chose mostly because I don’t actually have a whole lot of experience in English classes, so I don’t have the same tools that others have for discussing poetry and fiction. I read a lot though, especially essays, so it was a natural fit for me.
JF: What makes an essay publishable to you?
MF: What makes an essay or piece publishable would have to be the ability to suck you in, and keep you focused on the subject. In doing this, there will be a strong narrative, impeccable word choice, and a feeling of discovery as the piece moves on. A great first line always helps in this process.
JD: I think a good essay needs to convey something important about the wider world. I don’t want to hear about your family, for example, unless you can connect it to something outside of your family. Delving into your psyche in a discussion with little-to-no relation to the outside world isn’t too interesting either. But work that can grab me, make me learn something, and say something is good.
JF: What have you been reading recently that you would recommend?
MF: I have been reading a lot of pieces for class, but I recently picked up The Pinch literary journal for a presentation, and I am hooked. The pieces that this journal publishes are interesting and attention grabbing, and mean a lot in terms of what is happening in this social and political climate.
JD: I’ve recently been reading anti-war literature, mostly classics like Johnny Got His Gun and Under Fire, but I’m about to start Roy Scranton’s War Porn, about which I’ve heard only great things. I also read the news, philosophy, etc. I think people need to read about and consider the wider world, especially while writing non-fiction, especially in the current political climate.
Jeanna Foti: Jackie, what are you looking forward to as the fiction section head for this semester’s issue?
Jackie Shost: I’m looking forward to learning everything I can from the position, and really making the most of it. I want to go into the publishing industry after I graduate, and the ability to get this hands-on experience is incredibly valuable to me.
JF: What made you interested in the fiction section head position?
JS: What interested me, beyond just the practical experience for the future, was the prospect of reading all the fiction submissions. I honestly just love to read, and during the school semester I mostly only read for classes. This was an opportunity to learn, but also to read some pretty fantastic young authors before most people. I consider it a little treat.
JF: What makes a story publishable?
JS: For me, there’s always been one line. One line that stands out and speaks to you on a level outside of academics or plot. If I highlighted inside books, you’d find lines upon lines marked because they stood out to me for their beauty, composition, or just their ability to affect me on a deeper level.
JF: And finally, what have you been reading lately?
JS: I’ve been reading Anna Karenina for my blog post for the Gandy Dancer website, and while it is long, the characters are fantastic. Tolstoy is really great at fleshing out his characters (maybe that’s why his books are so long!) and you’re really able to get into someone’s head. They each have different perspectives, and it’s reflected in the writing, which I truly enjoy.
Jeanna Foti: Kallie, what are you looking forward to as the poetry section head for Gandy Dancer 5.2?
Kallie Swyer: I’m excited to have the opportunity to read poetry written by students all throughout the SUNY system, and to help showcase some of the best writing in the state.
JF: What made you interested in the poetry section head position?
KS: I am incredibly passionate about poetry and the power of words, and I’ve done a lot of work with the writing community at Geneseo. Becoming the poetry section head of Gandy Dancer seemed like a good way to use my passion and experience to feature student writers across the SUNY system, while also gaining experience working for an established journal.
JF: What makes a poem publishable to you?
KS: I think the signs of a publishable poem are that you think about it long after you’ve read it, and that every time you go back to read it again, it offers something new.
JF: What have you been reading recently that you would recommend?
KS: Recently, I’ve been reading the poetry collection An Atlas of the Difficult World by Adrienne Rich. It touches on topics like oppression and authoritarian governments, which grow more relevant every day.
Jeanna Foti: Noah, what are you looking forward to as the art section head for this semester?
Noah Mazer: As art section head, I’m looking forward to seeing how much the visual art we receive as submissions rhymes with the written pieces we get. The way that the arrangement of the art in relation to the written pieces in the last issue of Gandy was an interesting look into how art and writing can enforce or complicate each other, and I’m interested in seeing the degree to which conscious curation is involved in that.
JF: What made you interested in the art section head position?
NM: The ceramics series by Tylor Whyte in GD 5.1 was really intriguing to me, and made me think about the challenge of representing concepts – aqueousness, incursions, unabashedness – in abstract physical forms that weren’t obviously representative of them. That work like that could be included in a literary magazine was really surprising to me, and having oversight over creating a section like that was appealing.
JF: What makes an art piece publishable to you?
NM: My standards for visual art are generally pretty similar to those I have for poetry or essays; I’d like to see something that I haven’t seen before, and the art that I think is most publishable is that which makes its audience consider an idea or thing in a way they haven’t before. I’m not super interested in art that demands to be seen in one way – I like ambiguity and the possibility for interpretation.