Gandy Dancers past and present are thrilled to announce the debut of one of our very talented contributors, Dante Di Stefano, in his collection of poetry, Love is a Stone Endlessly in Flight. You can find a copy on Amazon here. Dante graced the pages of Gandy Dancer Issue 3.2 and Issue 4.1 with his poetry, and he has won awards such as the Thayer Fellowship in the Arts, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, the Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets College Prize. Aside from Gandy Dancer, Dante’s work has appeared in Shenandoah, The Writer’s Chronicle, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Brilliant Corners, and The Southern California Review. He earned his Ph.D. in creative writing from the State University of New York at Binghamton and is now a high school English teacher in Endicott, New York.
Tag Archives: Gandy Dancer Issue 4.2
Posted by Holly Gilbert, fiction reader for issue 4.2
In Managing Editors Courtney and Christie’s introduction to issue 4.2 of Gandy Dancer, they contemplate all we have to celebrate, from the joy of reading works from fellow SUNY students to our ever-expanding knowledge and appreciation for literature and art in all forms. On the morning of May 11th, friends of Gandy Dancer took this message of celebration to heart by joining us in launching our newest issue.
The Hunt Room in the MacVittie College Union was abuzz with conversation as staff members, contributors, family, and friends trickled in for the party. Attendees were greeted with steaming trays of bacon and eggs and silver platters of pastries, free pins and pencils, and the chance to nab their very own Gandy Dancer tote bag (all the better for sneaking those leftover pastries back home). The main attraction, of course, were the gorgeous print copies of Gandy Dancer issue 4.2; eager readers were already delving into its pages.
We were graced with readings from many of our contributors as this issue’s stunning visual art pieces were projected in the front of the room. The poetry was fascinating to hear in each author’s voice, and emphasized how differently a piece can be approached by each reader. Excerpts from “Frontierland,” “Amorphous Children,” and “Sonder” also drew partygoers in, showcasing the strengths of our variety of fiction and creative nonfiction selections. We offer gratitude to those contributors who could share with us at the launch party, and lament only that there were so many more pieces we wish we could have heard.
Our gathering was filled with people proudly donning their Gandy Dancer tees and pins, enjoying the warmth of both coffee and company, and, best of all, celebrating the literary accomplishments of students throughout the greater SUNY system. We urge you to explore our newest issue of Gandy Dancer (you can purchase your very own print copy to hold, love, and cry into!) and share in this celebration with us, even if you had to miss out on the festivities. Scramble up some of your own eggs, crack open your brand new copy of Gandy Dancer issue 4.2, and know that by immersing yourself in the talent of our contributors, you are partying with us in spirit.
Posted by Alexandra Ciarcia, fiction reader for issue 4.2Amidst the literary journal renaissance that we live in today, Gandy Dancer finds grounding in examining other literary journals. From The Common to TriQuarterly, we have studied a plethora of literary journals, but the one that influenced our selection process the most is [PANK]. [PANK] was a favorite of Gandy Dancer for its innovative pieces, ones that could never be described as run-of-the-mill.
[PANK] is an online and print literary magazine, with a mission statement that reads, “[PANK] fosters access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose, publishing the brightest and most promising writers for the most adventurous readers.” Their search for innovation is displayed in their selected pieces and their overall aesthetic. We were very impressed with their November & December 2015 online edition. As they state in their submission process, [PANK] asks writers to “send us something that screams.” If you take a look at such pieces as “We Sad Girls” by Lindsey Reese or “Lavatory” by Diane Williams in the November & December 2015 edition, you’ll see what I mean.
Posted by Caitlin O’Brien, Poetry Editor for issue 4.2
As the frenzied period of submissions review winds to a close, I find myself growing a little tired of white space. White space is almost invariably inescapable when putting together a literary magazine, and perhaps even more so when dealing with poetry, yet I’ve noticed a recurring aesthetic trend of white space in many of the submissions we read. From both a literary and an aesthetic standpoint, I can’t help but find this trend in poetry to oftentimes border on excessive. This is not coming from a staunch poetry elitist who refuses to read anything written after the 1800s—I love seeing poetry as a written art form interface with the visual, as well as with the spoken, and other modes of communication.
What gives me pause when I encounter a poem that makes ample use of white space is the intentionality behind its form. In the case of some submissions, the poets submitting to Gandy have made wonderful use of white space—we’ve received calligrams in clever shapes, as well as poems that can be read in multiple ways due to the way the words and stanzas are arranged. In the case of other submissions, though, the poetry team has often used the deliberative construction of the poem’s form as a strong measure of the poem’s overall purpose. Reading a poem aloud, the white space does not always inform the flow, so much as it makes the poem seem as though the poet was possessed of a hyperactive space bar. The most common aural effect of a form that relies on white space is a pause, yet these pauses do not create a rhythm that comes across as calculated. As one reader in the poetry section said, “if we have to guess whether or not the poet meant to do something, it’s not effective.” Similarly, the primary visual effect of non-traditional spacing is to set apart important words or allow the reader to focus in on a particular image or concept, rather than jamming the space bar an arbitrary number of times in order to make a poem look modern and minimalist.