Posted by Alexandra Ciarcia, fiction reader for issue 4.2
Cover art for the December 2015 issue of [PANK]
Amidst the literary journal renaissance that we live in today, Gandy Dancer
finds grounding in examining other literary journals. From The Common
, we have studied a plethora of literary journals, but the one that influenced our selection process the most is [PANK]
was a favorite of Gandy Dancer
for its innovative pieces, ones that could never be described as run-of-the-mill.
[PANK] is an online and print literary magazine, with a mission statement that reads, “[PANK] fosters access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose, publishing the brightest and most promising writers for the most adventurous readers.” Their search for innovation is displayed in their selected pieces and their overall aesthetic. We were very impressed with their November & December 2015 online edition. As they state in their submission process, [PANK] asks writers to “send us something that screams.” If you take a look at such pieces as “We Sad Girls” by Lindsey Reese or “Lavatory” by Diane Williams in the November & December 2015 edition, you’ll see what I mean.
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.
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