Welcome to the eleventh issue of Gandy Dancer. We are happy to have you with us, and despite the din of construction trucks that greets us as we pass Sturges Quad on our way to class, are pleased to announce that—as of this moment—Emmeline the bear is in one piece atop her perch in the Main Street fountain. Throughout the past three years, Geneseo has been more or less in a constant state of tearing down and building back up again, but, as we have come to learn as student editors, this process can be one of the most essential for growth. Our editorial staff has been thoroughly moved by the depth and daring of this semester’s submissions, and narrowing these to fit the journal’s space constraints has been an arduous task, to say the least. Huddled over our laptops in circles of unwieldy swivel-seat desk chairs, we’ve been deeply humbled throughout this process. Though we were both part of the Gandy team last spring, we found ourselves entirely unprepared for the emotional intensity the managing editor role would bring. As assembly of this volume nears completion, we are reminded of the reason we come together to create in the first place. Perhaps the gifted Latino poet and professor Martín Espada articulated this best: “We write to make the invisible, visible.”
Whether the “invisible” Espada refers to is a personal experience buried deep within gray matter, a new avenue of thought that effectively disrupts ordinary life, or a bygone detail lost to the past, it is the writer’s craft to transform the blank page into a lasting vessel. A successful artist boldly places the unexamined at center stage. Jennifer Galvão’s “Liturgy of Hours” for instance, tears off the cloak of invisibility (if you will), using subtlety of detail and delicate observation to challenge readers to reconsider what it might be like to live with burdens of silence, secrecy, and shame. Through his poem, “the trickle,” Noah Mazer visits the seemingly inexplicable tie between place and self, offering a visceral sensory exploration of an almost chaotic unease aroused by separation from the grounding elements of spaces associated with home. Arnold Barretto similarly disrupts the comfortable with his provocative visual art collage titled, “I’m not being racist. It’s just my preference, you’re not my type.” In her essay, “Where a Boundary,” Elizabeth Pellegrino also challenges the status quo, employing white space, sound, and creative connections to create a solid bridge—not only between genres and passions—but also between societal expectation and the richness of expansion brought about by the subversion of set expectations. This piece is as ambitious as it is compelling, successfully stretching the limits of language and giving us goosebumps along the way.
The relative transience of our little town’s façade functions symbolically for us in two significant ways: on a microcosmic scale, each work of art may require countless drafts, and even failed attempts, before the artist feels satisfied, thereby requiring many instances of “tearing down” and “building up” again. Panning out, we see that Gandy Dancer is also in a constant state of flux, its vision perpetually evolving, as team members are cycled through each semester and managing editors are replaced yearly. This, we feel, is a necessary part of what keeps our journal’s identity fresh—not a necessary evil, but a necessary good—each new incarnation allowing space for further growth.
As you thumb through the pages that follow, we sincerely hope you are as moved as we were by the contributions of the many talented SUNY scholars who made this issue possible. Thank you for joining us on our journey; we both feel so privileged to be a part of this.
Meghan Fellows & Lily Codera