Tag Archives: Selection Process

A Review of Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach, and a reflection on the relationship between art and story

Posted by Francesco Bruno, GD Fiction Co-Section Head for 6.2 

I invite you to refute the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and contemplate the paperback edition of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, published in 2011 by Alfred A Knopf. The cover shows a colorful menagerie of bodies in manifold contortions and postures. The translucent figures overlap and blend with each other, but no single figure grabs a central focus. The book’s title is laid over this image (again, the font is translucent) and the cluster of bodies is put into focus by a background of stark white space. The cover suggests not cacophony but polyphony, its narratives not shouting over one another but offering a variety of perspectives and lenses through which readers can continuously re-interpret the cover. Continue reading

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Reading as a Writer vs. Reading as an Editor: How are They Different?

Posted by Emma Corwin, Fiction Reader for issue 6.1

About a week into reading submissions for the upcoming issue of Gandy Dancer, I noticed how different, and sometimes challenging, it is to think with the mind of an editor. Having taken multiple writing workshops since starting college, I anticipated that reading for Gandy Dancer would be similar. Although there are certainly similarities between the two, there are also a few things about editing that I hadn’t considered. Continue reading

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Making Decisions: How We Choose the Pieces We Choose

Posted by Cassidy Brighton, Gandy Dancer CNF Reader for 5.2

Making decisions on what gets published each semester in Gandy Dancer is not an easy task. With so many submissions and limited room within the magazine, the selection process can get intense.

This is my second semester working to create Gandy Dancer, and my second time working to choose the creative nonfiction pieces that will be published. Each time, we have had to make tough choices and have had tough conversations about what few pieces are going to get put into this semester’s journal. Continue reading

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What We’re Reading: Deliberative Use of White Space and Form in Poetry

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.

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Zen and the Art of Rejection

Posted by William Hess, GD reader for 3.2

I am, like many other writers, more intimate with rejection than I am with my own family. I know rejection’s cold sting, its metallic tang, its false adrenaline rush in the moments before reading the slip. Each time my writing is rejected, I recognize these familiar feelings. My family member’s birthdays? Those I fumble.

As a species, we loath rejection—whether at the bar by a potential pseudo-lover or on the job market. But being told that your writing isn’t good enough, or “isn’t right for this issue” hurts so much more than, say, watching your date sneakily slink out the door. Writerly rejection is that much worse because it feels as if it is you—your self—that is being rejected. You work and sweat and bleed and hope, and in the end, it still isn’t enough. Blame for other rejections might be placed on any number of facets, all tangential to you. In matters of literary rejection I, for one, seek solace in my mother’s wisdom: sometimes your best just isn’t good enough. A comparatively jagged pill to swallow than, say, “A+ for effort!” Continue reading

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Finding Our Aha Moment: A Look Inside Our Editors’ Minds

Posted by Courtney O’Gorman, GD reader for 3.1

After the submission deadline closed for Issue 3.1 on September 26, the Gandy Dancer staff has been hard at work, closely reading, re-reading and discussing in depth the submitted work.. At each meeting, the editorial groups for fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art huddled, sharing notes, critiquing pieces, and inevitably making the tough decisions regarding which pieces will be published. “Vivid, challenging, insightful, and compelling.” Those descriptors provide a sense of what the Gandy Dancer 3.1 staff hopes to find in our submissions.  Continue reading

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