The latest issue of Geneseo’s literary magazine Gandy Dancer is fresh off the press. Created by Geneseo students, Gandy Dancer consists of submissions from students, staff members and alumni from any SUNY school.
The magazine is published biannually by the students in the Department of English’s ENGL 426: Editing and Production class. Each new group of student editors is led by professor of English Rachel Hall.
Gandy Dancer includes works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, visual art and a postscript, as well as other submissions with literary value, such as reviews or interviews.
The layout of issue 5.1 certainly keeps the reader stimulated. The all-important first piece is a short work of fiction titled “Bare” by English major junior Rachel Britton. In just a few pages, Britton brings the reader to the edge of a wooden dock to face the brightness of the moon and the darkness of a lake at night in order to illustrate what it means to make yourself vulnerable.
Following this story are two original oil paintings by SUNY Plattsburgh student Robert Guitsy Wolf and Geneseo English adolescent education major junior Gabi Basile’s captivating poem “Stars-and-stripes Sicilian.” Rather than sorting the entries by genre, the journal flows from one art form to another.
First, the heart is touched by an intimate story before the eyes are treated to bright splashes of paint. Finally, the ears follow the rhythm of a skillfully crafted poem.
This issue features Plattsburgh photographer Amanda Tetreault. Included is one digital photo—done in color—and four black-and-white film photographs.
The first in Tetreault’s feature, “Our tub” stands out as the only photo in color; it pictures the corner of a pastel blue bathtub, a pink wall and a subtly patterned beige floor with flecks of the adjacent blue and pink. The angular quality of the solid floor, wall and bathtub make an intriguing image.
“Our tub” is also noteworthy compared to Tetreault’s other four photos in the way that it utilizes space. “Our tub” captures a very small, close-up space, while the following four black-and-white photos display landscapes that stretch far into the distance, taking the eyes far away and making the viewer feel small.
The magazine showcases the talents of dozens of SUNY students. But Gandy Dancer is more than just a magazine—it’s a community.
Before launching into the students’ submissions, the first piece of writing in the magazine is a letter to readers from the Gandy managing editors, senior English creative writing majors Oliver Diaz and Evan Goldstein, emphasizing the importance of supporting the arts at Geneseo and beyond. It describes the role of art in our lives, stating, “Finding beauty, responding to injustice and reaching out to others is the responsibility of artists.”
But the letter also went a step further and put this concept in the context of recent events, both on the Geneseo campus and in the world. It addressed the elimination of the Geneseo Department of Art and the Finger Lakes Opera Company, stating the disadvantages of an education without art.
“What do we lose when we lose the arts? A dynamic culture and vital access to the ways in which other people think through life,” Diaz and Goldstein said.
The letter also went as far as to mention the election, to support the concept of the public school system and to explain that art is a vital tool of communication and understanding.
This issue of Gandy Dancer is a testament to the vibrancy of a community that is oftentimes neglected, as well as the talents and passions of the students and faculty of New York’s state universities. The most recent issue can be found online at http://www.gandydancer.org, and print copies are also available for purchase.