Cover of The Experimentalist, 1955 by Alice Doorley
Posted by Lara Mangino, Creative Nonfiction Reader for Issue 9.2
I’ve been involved in literary magazines at SUNY Geneseo since my freshman year. In fact, I selected Geneseo because it housed two different literary magazines. However, despite being very involved in publications here, I knew so little about their history. Gandy Dancer may have its entire history documented here on our website, but what about MiNT Magazine? What about Opus or Our Time or The Experimentalist? Who is documenting their history? Continue reading
Posted by Nicole Callahan, GD Fiction Reader for 7.1
Ask any writer about their writing from high school and their general reactions are likely to be the same: embarrassment. As a general rule of thumb, working in any creative field is a never-ending, slow upward climb that can make the experience of looking back either gratifying or mortifying (and sometimes both). My different experiences working on literary magazines have taught me similar lessons about being an editor.
My high school was very small, but our literary magazine, The Mast, had been around for decades. The club was run by our English teacher, Mr. Seffick, a patient soul who suffered alongside us on our creative journey.
One of the most obvious distinction between The Mast and Gandy Dancer is the disparity in resources. The Mast was lucky to hold a meeting of 10 members and submissions largely came from the staff. The class that produces Gandy Dancer is lucky to have 20+ students and can still feel under-staffed sometimes. The Mast did not use Adobe InDesign. Instead, we would physically lay out the magazine and then entrust the physical copy it to the two students who knew how to work Photoshop. Our online presence was nil simply because we didn’t have the time or understanding to create a good blog, though our technical squad did occasionally post videos calling for submissions. 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 Klarisa Loft, Fiction Reader for issue 4.2
As a student who is currently taking a senior seminar in creative writing as well as the editing and production workshop in which we create Gandy Dancer, I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion on what it means to be a literary citizen. I feel like this is an important topic to tackle outside the classroom as well. The literary community is a small one, especially in a modern world where the study of humanities is confusing to many since it doesn’t lead to a particular job.
In other words, we need all the support we can get.
This is where that literary citizenship comes into play. Writers have our love of reading and writing in common, so how about we fuel each other with that positivity? Don’t lurk in the literary shadows. Come out. Attend readings near you; help promote your friends’ literary accomplishments through social media. Subscribe to a literary journal you enjoy. Buy books! And when you read something you truly like, let that writer know. Every writer deals with a fair amount of rejection; it comes with the territory. But, as accustomed to it as someone might be, it never hurts to know that there are people out there who genuinely like and believe in our work. This is what spurs us to keep going. In her book Making A Literary Life, Carolyn See suggests writing charming notes to the writers whose work you enjoy and appreciate. She says that a notecard is all you really need for this; it takes a few seconds and has to power to drastically improve someone’s writing confidence.
Have no fear, your new managing editors are here! As the spring semester murmurs to life and the windy Geneseo weather welcomes us all back it’s time for your new managing editors, Courtney and Christy (C2), to sit down with some coffee and ask each other the questions that matter:
Let’s get this party started:
The Dream Team: Ready for Action!
How did you first get involved with Gandy Dancer?
Courtney: One of my friends recommended the class to me, actually. I was looking at courses for junior year and wanted to know more about it. My friend was in the class at the time and told me about how it was a really hands-on class where you got to put together a literary magazine full of prose, poetry, and visual art from students all across the SUNY system. The publishing industry is so multifaceted and is something that has always intrigued me as well so I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did though because I fell in love with everything about Gandy Dancer (GD) and kept coming back to it. As an avid reader and writer, being involved in this class has exposed me to so many fascinating aspects of the literary world that I never knew about before GD.
Christy: In the middle of my junior year I was perusing the course list on KnightWeb in a sleep-deprived-registration-is-tomorrow-morning-frenzy when I happened upon this gem of a class. I, somewhat nervously mostly excitedly, decided to sign up and I’m so glad that I did because it ended up being an incredible experience. At the start of the class I knew virtually nothing about literary magazines, literary magazine culture, or how they functioned and survived. It was, not to quote Aladdin, a whole new world! Not only did it widen my horizons within the creative writing/literary universe but also getting to read through and edit submissions from other young writers really helped me to grow as a writer and as a poet. I’m so excited to be back! Continue reading
Posted by Rachel Hall, GD Faculty Advisor
Ok, Gandy Dancer 3.2 was fat and juicy, but now what? I asked some Gandy Dancers and FOGD (Friends of Gandy Dancer) what they are reading or planning to read this summer. I also asked them about their best summer read ever as well as what might surprise us about their bookshelves. Here’s how they responded:
3.2 Managing Editor, Amy Bishop, plans to read in three genres! She says, “for non-fiction, I really want to get my hands on Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’ve read a lot about both books and friends have highly recommended them too. Poetry-wise, I NEED to read Danez Smith’s new collection [insert] boy and finally get around to reading Richard Siken’s Crush. As for fiction, I never got around to A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, which was on my book stack at school and The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, which just came up on the NYT Bestseller’s List and looks fascinating.”
Our new PR specialist, Jenna Colozza is tackling BIG books this summer: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Les Miserables. She also plans on reading the several issues of Slice magazine she received during the semester and couldn’t get to because she was reading for her classes.
Posted by Christine Davis, GD Nonfiction Reader for 3.2
The time has come readers, writers, and lovers of words. Gandy Dancer 3.2 is almost here, ready for consumption! After months reviewing wonderful submissions in the categories of poetry, fiction, art, and non-fiction from students all over New York State, we have whittled down our numbers and emerged with a collection of some of our best work yet!
Posted by Rachael Kelly, GD CNF Reader for 3.2
Creative nonfiction reader Rachael Kelly chatted with GD’s very own Rachel Hall to get an in-depth look at the past, present, and future of Gandy Dancer.
Rachael Kelly (RK): What are three of your favorite things about being the faculty advisor for Gandy Dancer?
Rachel Hall (RH): There are so many things that I love about teaching the Editing and Production Workshop and being the Gandy Dancer faculty advisor. It’s great to work with the class and staff to build something together. As a writing teacher, I’m often in the position of critiquing students’ work, slapping grades on their efforts, so that it can feel as if we are on opposite sides of the enterprise: Critic versus writer. But with Gandy, we’re working together to build something and I love that collaborative work. And I get to see talents the students have that might not show up in a regular classroom, skills like social media savvy or an eye for design. I also love seeing the journal come together—each semester, it feels a bit magical, though, of course, there is lots of hard work involved. That may be four things, but all are important! Continue reading
Posted by Mary Auld, GD Creative Nonfiction Editor for 3.2
I’m discovering that it’s important to understand the world of literary journals in order to work on one. This world seems infinite and overwhelming, featuring variations in look, medium, funding, affiliation, and theme. Each magazine makes its own attempt at carving out a space for itself in the overall scene. The Common, published at Amherst College, stands out as a journal with a well defined orientation within the realm of literary journals.
Posted by Andrew Nauffts, GD Art Editor for 3.2
Recently we had the pleasure of sitting down with Michael Palmer, one of the managing editors of Iron Horse Literary Review (IHLR). Our conversation ranged in topic from the magazine’s past, present, to the nature of lit mags, to Michael’s goals for Iron Horse. He was eager to talk about his role as managing editor and the world of literary magazines to our class of emerging writers and editors, and we learned a lot by speaking with him.