Tag Archives: SUNY Geneseo

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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Gandy Dancer Turns Five: A Celebration of Our Magazine

Posted by Juliana Schicho, GD Fiction Reader for 5.1Gandy Dancer Turns Five: A Celebration of Our Magazine

Issue 5.1 of Gandy Dancer marks the transition into our fifth year of publication for our magazine, out since 2012.  Our covers may have changed over the years, but our core literary mission remains the same: to connect students SUNY-wide through literature and art.  Published twice yearly, we receive submissions from schools all over the SUNY school system.  We publish one accepted alumni submission per issue in our postscript section.  Our magazine has grown since our first publication to include all sorts of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art.  The writing in Gandy Dancer is varied in terms of style and theme and it reveals the diversity of SUNY students. Continue reading

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Senior Readings: An Exploration of Past and Future

Posted by Maya Bergamasco, Poetry reader for issue 4.2

Here in Geneseo, spring is not only a time to lounge on the campus green or celebrate the return of famed Geneseo sunsets. For English students, spring heralds the annual senior readings, where every graduating senior in the creative writing program reads their work for their peers, professors, and family. For me, this is a bittersweet time. As I listen to my peers share their poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and hear their plans for the future, I am both excited and saddened. Excited that they will do such amazing things: become a teacher, earn an MFA in creative writing, or join the world of publishing. Yet, I am saddened that I will no longer laugh with them in class, or receive their feedback in workshop, or simply have the privilege to read rough drafts fresh from their thoughts. The seniors, too, seem to share this bittersweet feeling.

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Brendan Mahoney

i am the stone



<< A Guide to Recognizing Your Ghost 
Sunleaves >>

Brendan Mahoney is a sophomore economics and English (literature) double major. Sometimes at night he wakes up in a cold sweat, having dreamed of adding a math minor. He’s from a town that you’ve probably never heard of in a state that you’ve probably never heard of either.

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Sarah Simon

c i n g u l u m


It is an integral part of the limbic system, which is involved with emotion formation and processing, learning, and memory. The combination of these three functions makes the cingulate gyrus highly influential in linking behavioral outcomes to motivation (e.g. a certain action induced a positive emotional response, which results in learning). This role makes the cingulate cortex highly important in disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

—“Cingulate cortex” from Wikipedia

wraps to form a cranial

bay curve


winding from that

Boston Bostonian

I am not a New Englander but Cape Cod’s shiver


above is that Merrimack of mine

and skiing and reading,

collapsing into the cortex of itself, laughing:

He is saying his haircut is always $16

and when paying

he only asks for a dollar back

There is not depression;

You “thank you” through a drawl drawn

out and down with the staircase,

to a door held open for you that

you expect to be held open for you

There is hope in you expecting;


There is a

silence after screams.

You are etched on my heart


1 engrave (metal, glass, or stone) by coating it with a protective layer, drawing on it with a needle, and then covering it with acid to attack the parts the needle has exposed, especially in order to produce prints from it: (as adj. etched) : etched glass windows.

There is the feeling come


There is far too much feeling.

So I will go away from it now

and vacation on the Cape playing hand

games with anchors;

serotonin is the masthead and my boat is upside-down

So the anchors will dock in my direction,

and I will have a will to entertain them

with whispers. of little things the people around me do,

curving to drown a family secret:

planning and expecting and art and feeling,

laying beach chairs out over the hook

and an umbrella,

to protect from the sun.

Their little ticks are the curlicues

drawing on banalities concentrically, while

depressed people only draw on themselves.

Depressed people twist for nothing.

Depressed people know they know everything.

Depressed people are more realistic.

Depressed people neither maintain tip rituals nor

Drawl to held-open doors, nor create;

Depressed people are not in love.

(Am I depressed)


Definitions are what is known

in parses.

Wrap the cingulum by a numb-numbing curve, and

accept the prehensile word. eat clam


Would 6 be a good time for dinner?

Feels like I’ll be hungry by then

(You are quite good at monitoring the activity of your duodenum)

(It’s nice to know you care about things)


<< Canoodling of the Arrector Pili Muscle 
Berenstein/Berenstain >>

Sarah Simon is a junior studying psychology at SUNY Geneseo. She likes to use the word receptive. In her free time, she is friends with fictional characters.

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Savannah Skinner

A Guide to Recognizing Your Ghost

The night you ascended

the stairs with our wet clothes clutched to your chest,

we saw the ghost your mother saw

when she decided you were missing.

When I was outside your window, you said you recognized me

by the back of my neck, said you knew

the days were over when your father untied his boots

at night.           I tell you whole truths after you fall asleep

in the hallway & know you can’t hear

my voice over radio static, whole truths

I can’t tell you while your eyes are open.

When we drove past the mural they painted over

last year in red, I told you I was recreating

the first sounds you ever heard outside

your mother’s oceanic deafness: your father’s

Darth Vader impression, his muffled voice

whispering I am your father       your mother’s voice whispering

I still feel you like a phantom limb       your sisters rustling

in the dark of the house.       I watched your father disappear

into the barn, but that was three years ago;

now your house is full-up with people I’ve never met,

a baby you’ve never held (but write lullabies for in summer

when it’s cool enough to sing),

dogs who watch me from the porch steps

& curl up on your mattress while you’re away, until

you’ve been gone so long they can’t remember the way you smell.

<< Cannon Fodder 
i am the stone >>

Savannah Skinner is (perpetually) a senior history and English (creative writing) double major at SUNY Geneseo. She hails from Franklinville, NY, a town in the Southern Tier that actually boasts one stoplight. Savannah lived the first two decades of her life without ever trying a cherry, and aspires to never go to Olive Garden.

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Cannon Fodder

I wanted to tell you

of the river water.

And summertime: how teeth turn

to sand; how air

becomes thick

& red.

<< Winning the Lottery, 1969 
A Guide to Recognizing Your Ghost >>

For Jay it all began with flash fiction—how one could birth a world and its inhabitants within the limitations of a page or two, how a story could be fleeting yet timeless. Coming to terms with his new-found love for poetry, Jay combined narrative (from his history of writing prose) and the traditional lyric of poetry to create a style that he has stuck with ever since. Jay would probably be best friends with Bradbury’s Guy Montag, because who doesn’t yearn to be enlightened?

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Michal Zweig


the limiting reagent preventing the reaction from going to completion even though

there was more than excess of you or maybe i’m a fatty acid


being dissolved in deuterated methanol which has almost the same density as water

(but not at room temperature where you can watch it and see it vaporize)

(but not at room temperature when you put your hand around your beaker and feel

it vaporizing. cold.)

maybe i’m looking for a way to say that i’m terrified

i imagine being in love is like having an orgasm in that:

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand

to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I

could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it”

—US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

so i can’t say i’ve ever felt that w wa wa wa w wa wa aw awaw awwawaw awawwaw

wa wa way ay ay ay ayayayya yya ay ay ayaya ay ayy ay ay a ayy ya ay ay ay ay a ay y

ayyay ay a y y

but i felt something similar                                                                                                                                                         (i think)

           which was                                                                                                                                                  safe.

22-24-29 (Turn the dial to the right a few times. Before you enter the combination, you need to clear out any prior settings. You can do this by turning the locker dial to the right two or three times. Move the dial back to 0. Before you are ready to enter the combination, you must first move the dial to 0. Do this by turning the dial to the right until it is set on 0. Turn the dial to the right until you reach the first number in the combination. (This would be 22 in the combination.) You need to stop the dial on the exact number in the combination for it to work. Move the dial back to the left until you reach the second number in the combination. (This would be 24 in the combination.)  Be sure that you do not accidentally move the dial to the right first, or the locker will not open. Turn the dial back to the right until you reach the third number in the combination. (This would be 29 in the combination.) Take care to line up the number on the dial precisely. Open the locker. Once you have moved the dial to the third digit, then the locker has been unlocked. All you have left to do is pull the handle.)

Dear ___, When I’m near you I want to be nearer to you. I think that’s called attraction and I definitely feel the forces pulling us into each other. And I always want to give in and let us react but I can’t to completion. Not emotionally (corazón nadie no me dio/para amar Segundo) and not physically.

Yours, ___

and i don’t want to let myself downrightnow. (but i’m willing to try again one day if you are and can and want to). (and i know you’re struggling too) (but that’s okay) (we can trudge water, waist deep side by side(because that’s what friends are for)) (and we won’t hold hands because we need to do this alone).

<< Instructions for the Ranger 
Snow Child >>

Michal Zweig is a junior chemistry major and a chatterbox with too much to say about things she knows too little about, but she means well. Lately she has been spending too much time learning Aramaic, which will never serve her any practical purpose. You can probably catch her doing this in the upstairs section of the library, when she is supposed to be studying for a biochem exam.

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Winning the Lottery, 1969

           After “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out”

Every morning: the warmth

of their mattress. Every morning:

her callused husband          his belly

brimming with glass.

Every morning: a touch

of gin                                       to forget.

Because, suddenly,                    a leaf

of paper     is enough

to trouble water.

<< Weekends Spent Watching HGTV 
Cannon Fodder >>

For Jay it all began with flash fiction—how one could birth a world and its inhabitants within the limitations of a page or two, how a story could be fleeting yet timeless. Coming to terms with his new-found love for poetry, Jay combined narrative (from his history of writing prose) and the traditional lyric of poetry to create a style that he has stuck with ever since. Jay would probably be best friends with Bradbury’s Guy Montag, because who doesn’t yearn to be enlightened?

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Chloe Forsell

Things we remember years later in our dreams


As a child, I lived in a bathtub. Chipped porcelain printed leaf shapes in my
thighs. I watched the prune tree out the window, imagined swinging like a
fruit. Old wiring flickered a lightning storm on the ceiling. So much murk
in the water it would’ve dirtied any body. Residue from an old flood painted
murals on the walls. I could hear a voice, always, from the other room. It
is time to get out
and lukewarm. Baby’s back, soap-scummed spine pressed
to cold clay, pretended to drown. Branches swayed outside and a prune
bruised the ground like the sound of ceramic on bone.

For the first time, I bled but did not cry. I asked my mother about the body
as bread, to first be kneaded, chewed, and torn, remade for tomorrow’s
meal. Is there enough of me to fill the dinner table? Am I allowed to sip spiced
More than worthy of a warm course through my body, I know now.
Lavender oil soaked the pores of the house. My hands turned purple. There
was always food, and I was never really hungry—too concerned with flesh.

A lesson on wreckage: the living room full of dead things and decay under
the sofa. I used to climb the walls to try to escape, but tired too quickly. I
used to fall into bed from such a distance my heart would stop each night.
I swallowed my own tongue and grew gills. Climbed back in the bathtub
and swam away. The prune tree still stands. I see it through some stained
glass window, sanctuary out of reach. The fruit hangs low and sways the
same. Between my legs, leaf-shaped scars bud and branch. A bone breaks
like      dustclouds


<< We as Bird & Branch

Chloe Forsell is a junior at SUNY Geneseo, double majoring in French and English (creative writing). She hails from a town that, if drawn to scale on a map of New York State, might resemble a fingernail hugging the edge of Lake Erie. Chloe likes to spend her time making Spotify playlists and cooking foods that she doesn’t really know how to cook. Her post-grad plans are largely undetermined.

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