Tag Archives: Reading

Welcome to the virtual launch party for Gandy Dancer, 8.2!!!

At the end of most semesters, you can find us celebrating the launch of Gandy Dancer in the College Union at Geneseo. We have food and drink. Guests can hear contributors read their work in person, purchase the new issue or a Gandy Dancer T-shirt, coffee mug, or baseball hat. Sometimes we have live music or a raffle, but we always have fun.

This semester, we’re all spread out across the state, hunkered down at home, but we still want to celebrate the new issue, the hard work of putting it together—especially after we went to remote learning—the artists and writers from across SUNY who entrusted us with their work. You can view it below, on our YouTube channel, or with the current issue.

As always, you can purchase an issue here or view it online at gandydancer.org.

We hope you’ll enjoy the work you see and hear.

Many thanks to Allison Brown, Michele Feeley, Dr. Rob Doggett, and the Parry family. Thanks also to the contributors for sharing their work and to the creative writing and art instructors in whose classrooms this work was encouraged to bloom.


All best,

The Gandy Dancer staff


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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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A Kind of Book Review of Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds

Posted by Frank Bruno, Fiction Reader for issue 6.1

In May of 2016 Ocean Vuong’s first full length collection of poetry, Night Sky With Exit Wounds was released by Copper Canyon Press. The book has since received swaths of rave reviews and a number of prestigious awards including the Whiting Award, the Forward Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award. Despite the relative media buzz created by the book, it only came to me a year after its initial release when my friend read me the poem “Thanksgiving 2006.” I started reading my own copy this past June and finished it last week. Continue reading

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A Day in the Life of an English Major

Posted by Tyler Herman, GD Creative Non-Fiction Reader for 5.2

Tired of being belittled for choosing to major in English? Me too. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most English majors have an aunt who repeatedly, “You’re still an English major? How are you going to get a job when you graduate?” And if you don’t have that aunt, then good for you, but you probably have that chemistry major friend who thinks his life is a million times more difficult than yours. I have gotten a lot of backlash for being an English major. When I tell people what my major is, I know to expect the “are you at least going to go to law school” look. But, hey, we do a lot, we know a lot, and we are proud of what we do. Continue reading

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Creating Autumn

Posted by Lexi Sammler,  GD Creative Nonfiction Section Head for 5.1

Creating Autumn in Nature and WritingFrom a young age, I discovered the ability to lose myself in nature. I pride myself in stopping to smell the flowers, going on walks in the woods, and embracing the quiet sounds of nature.  Each step I have made through crunching leaves has allowed me to better myself as a writer. I have learned to appreciate and meditate in nature beyond the small creatures of the forest. I am thankful for all the green grass in my life, the cool breezes, and the reminder of my childhood that comes from stepping outside. Continue reading

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SUNY Geneseo Launches National Book Review Month

Posted by Nicole Sheldon, Creative Nonfiction Editor and Art Curator for Issue 4.2

With the spring semester in full swing the SUNY Geneseo campus is bustling with students who are finding that each day is busier than the last. It’s more than a week into February, and here at Geneseo Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith, Editing and Production Manager Allison Brown, and I have launched National Book Review Month, or NaRMo, for the month of February.

get reviewing posterThe literary world celebrates events such as National Poetry Month and National Novel Writing Month, and we’ve set out to add National Book Review Month to the literary calendar. Book reviews are an often-overlooked part of the literary landscape, and many readers fail to recognize the value in reading and writing reviews. Reading a book review may give you that extra nudge to read that book you meant to indulge in over the summer. Or, perhaps reading a book review would have prevented you from abandoning the novel that wasn’t what you initially expected.

That’s the beauty of book reviews—they’re a way for readers to express their opinions about what they’ve read, and share their views with the rest of the literary world. Word of mouth is great when recommending a book—but publishing reviews online for readers all over the world to see is bound to have a greater impact. Continue reading

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What We’re Reading: The Opposite of Loneliness

Posted by Meaghan Johnston, CNF Reader for Issue 4.1

The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of essays written by Marina Keegan, a writer who died five days after her graduation from Yale, at the young age of twenty-two. I would assume that as a young writer, Keegan didn’t write her essays knowing they would become a New York Times best seller. She wrote for the same reason that many of us do – to attempt to make something of the world around us, to attempt to make something of ourselves. Keegan’s writing speaks of what it means to be a writer, as well as what it means to be human. Continue reading

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Will That Be Paper or Plastic?: How We Read Now

Posted by Alex Herman, Art Curator and Nonfiction Reader for Issue 4.1

I remember very vividly the thrill of dragging my mother into bookstores as a kid. It didn’t matter if it was the corner shop in the mall or the Borders bookstore two towns over, if there were books in the window, we had to stop there. I’d spend forever perusing the shelves, my fingers dancing over the spines, yearning for a new story, and, if I was lucky, finding one my mother would let me take home.

Nowadays, though, I’m lucky if I can even find a store.

It’s undeniable that we are now smack dab in the middle of the digital age. Between cell phones, laptops, and tablets, everyone seems to begandy blog (1) plugged into one device or another at any given time. As a result bookstores, and by extent, printed books, have seemingly fallen to the wayside in favor of their digital counterparts. But are these ebooks really as superior as sellers like to claim? Is it possible that we, in our lifetimes, could witness something as timeless as printed books go completely obsolete?

Not if I can help it. Continue reading

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Karen Russell Presents Poised Reading

Posted by Nicole Sheldon, Fiction Reader for Issue 4.1

After a warm welcome from Professor Lytton Smith, visiting author Karen Russell took the stage in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom on Wednesday, October 14. Russell’s connection with the audience was instantaneous. From the moment she began reading her short story “Reeling for the Empire” from Vampires in the Lemon Grove, she had her audience’s rapt attention.  The story examines young Japanese women forced to grow silk inside of their bodies, and then reel the silk for kimonos. Fantastic and magical, this story celebrates female empowerment as the young women eventually stand up for the rights to their own bodies.

vampires-in-lemon-grove-jpgDuring the Q&A following her reading, Russell explained that setting is often an inspiration for her stories; she molds characters and a plot that she imagines would coincide with that particular setting. I found this surprising, yet inspiring. It reminded my of the literary journal The Common, which focuses on place and which we’ve been studying this semester in the Editing and Production Workshop.

Indeed, setting is a clear focus in “Reeling for the Empire,” as the story itself takes place in Japan, and largely in the small factory room in which the Japanese silk girls are entrapped. They have no way to escape the tiny living space or their life of producing silk. Russell captures the claustrophobic nature of the girls lives through her detailed description of the setting.

Near the end of the Q&A, Russell commented on the importance of endurance in writing and how revision is a strenuous, but vital aspect of writing. “Committing to radically revising something, that’s a big undertaking,” she admitted. She was honest, yet encouraging about the struggles of revision, and advised young writers to ask themselves during the revision process “Is this worth my time?” and “Am I interested?” Ultimately, this is what helps an author decide whether or not their piece is worthy of their endurance.

Karen Russell had an endearing and relatable sense of humor; she was eloquent and down-to-earth, and surprisingly humble given that she is an acclaimed author and winner of numerous awards, such as the MacArthur Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts. Russell didn’t pretend to be all knowing; she remained modest throughout the event, and was an inspiration to all in attendance.

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John Gallaher at the Geneseo Literary Forum

Posted by Chloe Forsell, former contributor and Poetry Reader for Issue 4.1

As he walks nervously up to the podium, the crowd of eager listeners packed tightly together in the Walter Harding Lounge on the SUNY Geneseo campus, silence themselves in what seems to be an unspoken but simultaneously universal knowledge of the immense vulnerability one must feel as he stands to share his art with a group of people—worse even, a group of people who care about his art. His glasses on, his hands trembling so slightly it couldn’t have been noticeable past the third row, visiting poet John Gallaher pulls a digital stopwatch out of his pocket, makes a joke about timing himself (which turns out to be very serious), and eases the tension of his own nervousness by accepting his vulnerability. He makes a self-deprecating joke, which the audience will soon find is a theme of the night’s reading.

Within the first sixty seconds of Gallaher’s reading, he communicated both a sense of discomfort and ease. I think anyone who attended Gallaher’s Monday evening reading of poetry from his book-length essay-poem In a Landscape (BOA Editions Ltd., 2014), would agree that this tension, this complexity of not knowing how to feel, of uncertainty in life, is a driving force in Gallaher’s poetry, as well as in the way he relates to those around him.

in a landscapeAt once eloquent and colloquial, Gallaher led the room through a collection of several of his “landscapes,” or numbered sections of an essay-poem comprised of seventy-one smaller poems written in about forty days. In one breath, Gallaher projected beautiful lines of poetry; in the next he shocked us with the hard drop of “fuck” or “shit,” his own speech spilling through the written lines, until his divergences began to blend with the poetry, the published lines began to mesh with the deviations from the page, and all of the words became Gallaher—a pure and whole representation of the human being who stood before us. A beautiful moment where this indistinguishable quality seemed to shine was a moment in which Gallaher reflected on a plane crash that killed three of its five passengers. Fluidly, so smoothly it was almost alarming, Gallaher brought this into the room, pointing to the row of five in the front, temporarily turning them into the passengers, the room itself into the plane, ourselves into horrified observers, and reminding us of the fragility and randomness of life, reminding us that “that’s just the way it fucking happens.”

This connection to his audience is what allows Gallaher’s poetics to resonate on a highly personal level. He often stopped in the middle of reading a poem or sharing an anecdote to ask us, “Do you know what I mean? Have you experienced this?” Gallaher’s search for connection, his desire to relate, and his judicious use of humor are comforting, humanizing. I think this is reflected not only in his own poetry, but perhaps this is the goal of, dare I say it, all poetry?

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