Tag Archives: English

The Versatility of the English Major

Posted by Julia Caldwell, Poetry Reader for 8.1

It’s your first year in college. You’re a business administration major and an athlete practicing more than fifteen hours a week. You’re discovering that the amount of work you did in high school will not suffice for college-level academics. Furthermore, you’re not a “test person.” You meet with your advisor. He tells you to either switch majors or transfer. You are lost and feel like a part of you that was solidified for so long, has been taken out from under you in an instant. Then you remember how much you loved your 11th grade English class. You switch your major to English and the following years are filled with close readings, endless writing, and interesting discussions. You’re finally doing well and you’re happy. But when Senior year comes, you have no idea what you can do with this degree.

English majors…what do they really do? Read? Write? Sit in a circle and dive into texts? Continue reading

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The Gandy Dancer Ball

Posted by Emily Sterns, GD Public Relations Manager for 6.2

This Valentine’s Day, Gandy Dancer and friends celebrated our love for the literary arts! This event, meant to call attention to our upcoming submission deadline, included readings from both students and faculty. Readings were done by English department faculty, former contributors and current staff members. Our production advisor, Allison Brown read some of her poetry. She has been an immense help to Gandy Dancer through the years as she has helped produce the journal and taught countless students how to use the InDesign program. Dr. Greenfield performed some songs on an acoustic guitar to wrap up the first ever Gandy Dancer Ball! There was also a swag table full of Gandy Dancer merch including beanie’s, T-shirts, past issues, and new additions including coffee mugs and stickers. An assortment of delicious treats was made by numerous students in the Editing and Production classes. Guests especially enjoyed the Valentine’s Day card making station.  Continue reading

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Literary Journals in the High School Curriculum

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

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Four Reasons Your Future Self Will Thank You for Submitting to Gandy Dancer

Posted by Heather Molzon, GD Public Relations Manager and Fiction Reader for 5.2

Are you looking for a sign to submit your work to Gandy Dancer this semester? If so, consider this it! Gandy Dancer is now officially accepting submissions in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art until February 17th for Issue 5.2.

D.W Winnicot once said, “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” This couldn’t be a more relatable statement because as college artists we are often plagued by doubt when deciding whether or not to share our work. Continue reading

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5 Days Left to Submit to Gandy Dancer!

Posted by Erin Carlo, GD Public Relations Manager and Fiction Reader for 5.1

Gandy Dancer Call for SubmissionsDear SUNY students,

Gandy Dancer wants to publish YOUR work! There are only 5 days left to submit, but it only takes a few minutes to do so.  Go to https://gandydancer.submittable.com/submit now and bring your fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork to students and humans all over the world with Gandy Dancer.

With love always,

The Gandy Dancers of Issue 5.1


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Senior Readings: An Exploration of Past and Future

Posted by Maya Bergamasco, Poetry reader for issue 4.2

Here in Geneseo, spring is not only a time to lounge on the campus green or celebrate the return of famed Geneseo sunsets. For English students, spring heralds the annual senior readings, where every graduating senior in the creative writing program reads their work for their peers, professors, and family. For me, this is a bittersweet time. As I listen to my peers share their poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and hear their plans for the future, I am both excited and saddened. Excited that they will do such amazing things: become a teacher, earn an MFA in creative writing, or join the world of publishing. Yet, I am saddened that I will no longer laugh with them in class, or receive their feedback in workshop, or simply have the privilege to read rough drafts fresh from their thoughts. The seniors, too, seem to share this bittersweet feeling.

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What Makes a Good Writer?

Posted by Megan Tomaszewski, CNF reader for issue 4.2

myemotions_troyWho is a writer? According to Dictionary.com, a writer is “a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories etc., especially as an occupation or profession.” Merriam Webster Dictionary notes that a writer is “someone who has written something.” But are there any definitions out there for what makes a writer a good writer?

Working at Gandy Dancer this semester as a creative nonfiction reader has prompted me to reflect on the answer to this question a lot, especially when reading through submissions to accept or reject. While discussing submissions with my peers, I was captivated by the way our group would sometimes unanimously “no” a piece, whereas, other times, we would debate pros and cons back and forth. Sometimes, we’d all like or dislike a piece for similar reasons, sometimes for completely different ones.

It was a fascinating, engaging, and messy process unlike anything else that I’ve been a part of—a group of individuals with their own subjective tastes and backgrounds collectively deeming literary pieces as worthy of publishing is no easy feat.

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A Staff Member’s Perspective on their Experience in Creating SUNY Geneseo’s Original Literary Magazine, Gandy Dancer

Posted by Connor Hillman, Fiction Reader for issue 4.2

library_infiniteAs an English major, I’ve been wondering when I would get to make practical use of the skills I’ve been learning. Sure enough, along came ENGL426: The Editing and Production workshop, the class in which we create the college’s biannual literary journal, Gandy Dancer. Our title comes from the slang term used for railroad workers of the 18th century. Like those workers, the journal reflects the diligence of the artists, poets, and writers who refine their work to create something that allows others passage.

I was excited to learn that we would be reading and selecting the work we wanted to include in Gandy Dancer. Finally, I can read through literature for the sole purpose of discovering and discussing what makes it appealing or not. There are no lengthy research papers, though that doesn’t mean we don’t have to work hard. In fact, it’s a different kind of work altogether. In Gandy Dancer we work as a cohesive and interdependent staff. Not doing your “homework” here means letting everyone down. No one wants to be the one who shows up unable to provide any input about the submissions. I’m normally pretty quiet in class, but here I am required to vocalize my opinions frequently, which is a good thing. After submissions have been selected, we begin copyediting and then digitally constructing the layout of the journal in InDesign. Having worked with InDesign for my High School’s yearbook, I felt confident in this stage of development. The interdependence of our staff is now more prevalent as each of us work on individual pages of the journal that will eventually come together. To students contemplating taking this class, I urge you to do so. Working on Gandy Dancer gives an experience that is closer to actual job. You have to work and communicate effectively with others, maintain a goal oriented schedule with deadlines, and in the end your name is on the masthead. All in all, I’m grateful to be a part of this staff and to be able to participate in a project oriented class. It’s rewarding to dedicate yourself to something that is legitimate, published, and has your name on it.

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The War on Math

Posted by Melanie Weissman, CNF Reader and Art Curator for Issue 4.1

I’m not a math person.”

It’s a statement we’ve all probably heard, if not spoken, multiple times throughout our lives. The sentiment seems ubiquitous among literary types like me. Why is that?

Numerous sources claim that the idea of some people being more inclined to natural mathematical talent than others is a lie and anyone can be a math person if he would just quit whining and put some effort into his studies already. I’m far from an expert on the workings of the human brain, so I’m in no position to contest that, but I can say that in my personal experience, when I’ve said that I wasn’t a math person, I haven’t merely been stating that I found math harder than other academic subjects (though I certainly do); I’ve also been expressing that I just plain don’t like math.

blog imageI guess that’s not entirely true; I do enjoy math in some capacities. I’m a big fan of Sudoku and those logic puzzles where you have to figure out who drives which car or who saw which movie. Even the less glamorous parts of math, the geometry and trigonometry and calculus, aren’t the absolute worst things in the world. (Algebra is pretty bad, though. Algebra can die in a fiery pit.) I suppose I’d rather find a derivative than clean my room. Rationally speaking, I know I shouldn’t have that much of a problem (if you’ll excuse the pun) with math, so why do I often feel the need to tell people those dreaded five words: “I’m not a math person”?

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Wendy Corsi Staub and Lucia Marco Spark Creativity at SUNY Geneseo

Posted by Erin Carlo, Nonfiction Reader for Issue 4.1

Wendy Corsi Staub, the wildly successful and prolific author of over eighty novels, visited Geneseo on Thursday, October 22nd.  As an avid reader of Ms. Staub’s many works, I was delighted to have the opportunity to hear her speak about her writing life, her inspirations and motivations, as well as the adversity she has overcome along the way.

Accompanying Wendy was her editor and friend, Lucia Marco, the Vice President and Executive Editor at Harper-Collins Willian Morrow Books.  Attendees were able to ask questions about writing, editing, and publishing. Wendy and Lucia were exceptionally knowledgeable, and remarkably approachable.

A few of Wendy’s accomplishments include:

  • Named New York Times Bestseller
  • Has appeared on USA Today, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and Bookscan bestseller lists
  • Won the Westchester Library Association Washington Irving Prize for Fiction for Nightwatcher in September, 2012
  • Finalist for Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award for Sleepwalker in October 2012
  • Won the 2008 RT Award for Career Achievement in Suspense
  • Won the 2007 RWA-NYC Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Translated into over a dozen languages worldwide

Corsi Staub WWhen asked how she was possibly able to produce over eighty novels before the age of 50, Ms. Staub responded, “I walk fast, I talk fast, I write fast.  Once I’m in the groove, the stories just come.”  Furthermore, when asked how to write successful fiction, fiction that will attract readers and keep them coming back for more, Wendy chuckled, gazed at the ceiling thoughtfully and said: “Give yourself permission to have bad days. Sometimes, you’re going to write crap.  What’s important is to keep writing anyways.  Sit down at your computer, do your pages, and then the next day, go over what you wrote and see what you can do with it.”

As an aspiring writer, I felt empowered by this advice. Wendy Corsi Staub and Lucia Macro are tremendous role models for the creative minds in college classrooms everywhere.

For more information, please visit www.wendycorsistaub.com.


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