This semester’s issue of the State University of New York’s online literary magazine, Gandy Dancer, is complete. The issue became accessible online on Wednesday April 23. The launch party will be on April 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the College Union Hunt Room. Geneseo students produce Gandy Dancer, but submissions are open to students from all SUNY campuses. The magazine publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama and visual art.
Gandy Dancer is edited by the students enrolled in English 426: Editing and Production Workshop. The class was first offered during the spring 2013 semester, and each respective class publishes an issue at the end of the semester. English professor Rachel Hall instructs the course, teaching students how to perform a variety of tasks necessary for producing the magazine.
“Students have been involved at every level,” Hall said in an email interview. Students select pieces, format the journal and publicize the magazine, among other tasks.
Hall said that students from her creative writing classes founded the magazine. “[Gandy Dancer] is the only SUNY wide lit journal and we wanted to connect with writers and artists on other SUNY campuses,” Hall said. Electronic resources & digital scholarship librarian Joe Easterly has been heavily involved in making the publication a reality.
Gandy Dancer uses the Open Journal System software program to create the magazine. Students in the class learn how to use this tool. The software is designed for publications that will be available to the public – anyone can view Gandy Dancer online.
Junior Cassie Nicol is the teaching assistant for the class this semester. She said that the issue has been viewed online from all over the world, although most of the hits on the website have come from New York. In addition, print copies of the magazine can be purchased online through Amazon.
“It’s free online, you don’t have to do anything to read literature,” Nicol said. “Just go to the website and you can read four issues of student-made, student-edited and student-produced work.”
Gandy Dancer received 215 submissions this semester, although only 21 pieces will be published. Students from 13 SUNY schools have submitted their work to the magazine to date.
This literary magazine is unique for a number of reasons. Nicol said that to her knowledge, it is the only literary magazine that accepts submissions from across the SUNY system. In addition, using a class as the editing team is a distinctive technique.
“Every single semester it is an entirely new set of eyes and mindsets that put the journal together,” Nicol said.
Hall said that some additions have been made to the publication since it began. A section called “Post Script” was pioneered in the fall 2013 issue. This section gives the opportunity for a student who has graduated to have work included in the magazine. The fall 2013 issue was also the first issue of Gandy Dancer that was available in print.
Hall said that this semester’s issue will be the first that includes a song. A poet and a musician from Geneseo worked together to write a song, which will be included in the magazine. Both the lyrics and the sheet music to the song will be provided, and a recording of the song will be available online.
The April 30 launch party for this semester’s issue of Gandy Dancer will feature readings from those featured in the magazine. In addition, live music will be provided from the student whose song is published in the magazine.