Posted by Lara Mangino, CNF reader for 8.2
Along with being a creative nonfiction reader for Gandy Dancer, I also serve as the editor-in-chief for MiNT Magazine, another Geneseo literary journal, and getting to work on both simultaneously has given me a unique viewpoint. Coming to Gandy Dancer with a background in editing has allowed me to offer my perspective on a number of issues; for example, I recall a discussion in class on themed issues. Because MiNT utilizes themes—Roots, Ashes, and Tides have been our most recent—I prefer them and was able to elaborate on their advantages and disadvantages. I bought up how we often feel pressured to choose submissions that fit the theme, although we never require contributors to adhere to it. However, having themed issues also allows us to tell a kind of story with our magazine. In Ashes, we organized the pieces according to tone and told a story of life, death, and rebirth. Thus, my background in MiNT informed how I approached Gandy.
Tag Archives: Editing
Posted by Lara Mangino, CNF reader for 8.2
About a week into reading submissions for the upcoming issue of Gandy Dancer, I noticed how different, and sometimes challenging, it is to think with the mind of an editor. Having taken multiple writing workshops since starting college, I anticipated that reading for Gandy Dancer would be similar. Although there are certainly similarities between the two, there are also a few things about editing that I hadn’t considered. Continue reading
Posted by Katie Rivito, Poetry Reader for issue 6.1
Although I cannot recall its name, the first literary journal I was introduced to left a lasting impression on me. This was not because I found its contents intriguing or its purpose inspiring, but because I was forced to study it page by page with excruciatingly focused attention while my friends tailgated our high-school football game.
My dad had come home that day just moments before dinner time, calling out to my sister and me to quickly meet him at the dining room table. We walked into the room to find him sitting at the head of the table with two copies of a book in front of him.
“You won’t believe what I showed my students today,” he announced excitedly as he slid us each a book from across the table. Continue reading
Posted by Joshua DeJoy, CNF Co-Editor for 5.2
Several current and former Gandy Dancers attended the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)Conference in Washington, DC, February 8-11. The conference was a rewarding experience for all Geneseo attendees, including myself, Managing Editors Evan Goldstein and Oliver Diaz, Poetry Editor Kallie Swyer, former Poetry Editor Robbie Held, former CNF reader Isabel Owen and friend of Gandy Dancer Elizabeth Pellegrino.
The AWP conference has two main components: dozens of panels by writers, editors, and translators and an absolutely massive book fair. Even the most diligent and caffeinated attendee can only experience a small fraction of what the conference has to offer. For example, I attended a couple of panels and then spent the rest of the time at the book fair, going systematically past hundreds of tables and booths and seeing what they had to offer. Continue reading
Posted by Lea Karnath, Managing Editor for Issue 4.1
In early November, two representatives from Gandy Dancer, myself and Keara Hagerty, the founder of Guerilla Poetry, Evan Goldstein, and Katie Bockino, the editor of MiNT, all took a six-hour road trip. Our destination? Chester, Pennsylvania to participate in the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) Conference held at Widener University. The two-day conference was filled with presentations about literary journals from institutions across the United States, both big and small, including Susquehanna University, Cabrini College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Mary Baldwin College, University of California, Los Angeles, and several more.
FUSE is a national organization that provides a network for undergraduate student editors and writers along with their faculty advisers. Their mission is “to foster visionary magazine work and to support undergraduates who are eager to pursue careers in writing, publishing, and editing.” Each year, FUSE hosts a national conference where undergraduates share their experiences with the world of editing.
This year’s conference theme, “Will You Look at That?: Aesthetics and the World of Undergraduate Publications,” allowed Keara and me to think more deeply about how we want to impact readers when they pick up a copy of our publication.
Our presentation entitled “Looks Matters/Looks Matter: Finding a Niche in a Robust Literary Community” explored the varying aesthetics each Geneseo publication offers. Evan discussed how the barebones aesthetic of Guerilla encourages discourse about controversial topics; works appear in unconventional places such as academic hallways and even bathroom stalls to catch the attention of a student or faculty member who may not typically pick up a standard literary publication. Next, Katie spoke about MiNT, referring to the publication as a “utilitarian booklet” of writing about multicultural experiences. Lastly, Keara and I discussed how Gandy Dancer strives to look professional with hopes of attracting both readers and writers while upholding our mission: “to forge connections between people and places” through literature and art. Our aesthetic, clean and simple, aims to honor the work we receive from SUNY students.
Although the three publications—Gandy Dancer, Guerilla, and MiNT—differ in content and mission statements, there is a sense of community and interconnectedness. Evan and Katie have been previously published in Gandy Dancer. Evan also currently holds a section editor position in poetry for Gandy Dancer and has been published in MiNT. We all share a passion for good writing.
Our presentation also discussed some of Gandy Dancer’s obstacles. While other undergraduate publications talked about receiving funds through their school’s English Departments (or even being paid as a student editor), we discussed the challenges that comes along with no funding. Even so, Gandy Dancer is still able to attract SUNY students to submit their work. This is not only impressive for an undergraduate publication, but also for a public school where our art department—along with that of other SUNY schools—has been cut from the curriculum. We want to serve students by providing an outlet to express their creativity whether it be in the form of art or the written word.
The conference’s presentations covered an array of topics such as selection processes, physical vs. online journals, and even featured a business plan about creating corporate sponsorships within the surrounding community. Speaking about Gandy Dancer and showcasing past journals made us feel proud and confident in saying: “Yes, literary journals are still relevant and an important means of expression, even today.”
For more information about FUSE, check out the FUSE National website: http://www.fuse-national.com/.
Posted by Erin Duffy, Nonfiction Editor for Issue 4.1
I’ve wanted to go into publishing for years. I imagined myself in a bustling metropolitan setting, attending corporate meetings, with piles and piles of manuscripts as far as the eye can see. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last year or so, it’s that that image makes up only a small fraction of the publishing industry: however big and powerful the major publishing houses may be, there are just as many rewarding opportunities –for writers and aspiring editors alike—in smaller corners.
My first experience with small press was actually quite indirect. Last year, my father published a novel entitled The Crew. It was his first venture into the literary world in any capacity: my father is an engineer with a military background, but nonetheless, he spent the last ten years or so writing a novel about life in the US Merchant Marine Academy in his spare time. The finished product was a whopping seven hundred-page book with nowhere to go. So, after at least two rewrites (and plenty of pestering from me), he began to seriously look into getting it published.
The first roadblock presented itself immediately. “Basically, I learned that if you wanted to go to a big publishing house, you had to have an agent,” my father told me recently. “And I wasn’t sure how to go about getting one. It’s almost like being an actor, where you need an agent to get auditions for you. But it’s still a matter of whether or not [the agent] would be willing to take you on as a client.”
My father’s analogy wasn’t too far off the mark. Many publishing houses don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, and they almost always want to speak to a literary agent first rather than to the authors themselves, especially if the author is unpublished. Finding an agent was essentially an extra audition process that my dad didn’t want to bother with.
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