Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Kathleen Rooney: Who says American white men are better writers?

"Benign negligence—whether in a grassroots book club, or on a college syllabus, or in a publishing house or magazine’s list—cannot simply be excused and accepted as an innocent blind spot."

Kathleen Rooney's article, "Who says American white men are better writers?" is on Women News Network today. Check it out!

For more information about Kathleen Rooney, visit her website:

For her newest novel, O! Democracy, click here.
For her Switchback title, Oneiromance, click here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Morgan Parker Interview in BOMB Magazine

An interview with Morgan Parker, winner of the 2013 Gatewood Prize, is up at BOMB magazine. 
She and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs discuss their artistic processes and interests. 

Check it out!:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New: A Table That Goes on for Miles by Stefania Heim + an interview with Jane Carr in the new Brooklyn Quarterly

Switchback Books is thrilled to announce the publication of A Table That Goes On for Miles, the first book of poetry from Stefania Heim and winner of the 2012 Gatewood Prize, selected by competition judge Brenda Shaughnessy. 

Buy Online Today

Read an interview with Jane Carr in the new Brooklyn Quarterly

From A Table That Goes On for Miles: 


Because of the hills, we feel
lonely, because the river smells

closer than it is.
The country is only one language.

We say comfort and mean
that though there are more stars here

than we can imagine,
there is still one small, cream room.

It is small enough.

This is one kind of writing:
At the base of every hill

I imagine there is water. 

But the water is farther off.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dorothea Lasky to Judge 2014 Prize


Dorothea Lasky will be judging the 2014 Gatewood Prize, Switchback Books' annual competiotion for a first or second full-length collection of poems by a woman writing in English. 

Dorothea Lasky is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE, all out from Wave Books. She has also written several chapbooks, including Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Ducking Presse, 2010). Her writing has appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, and Boston Review, among other places.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Additional Thoughts on Dead Poets Society from Elle Collins

Last week, The Atlantic published an excellent essay about the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, and what a terrible job it does representing the humanities. It’s definitely recommended reading, particularly if you have foggy memories of the film from your youth, as I do. Writer and literature professor Kevin J.H. Dettmar satisfyingly expresses his anger at the poor representation that film offers his little-understood, much-underestimated profession.

However, for all that’s good in that essay, he misses (indeed, he kind of participates in) the thing that bothers me the most about Dead Poets Society.

My biggest problem with the movie is glaring right there in the title. People, even a lot of people who claim to love poetry, have a tendency to treat it as something dead. Specifically, as something that dead white men did (with a tiny space usually carved out for Dickinson). "Thoreau, Whitman, Shelley, the biggies," says Mr. Keating (Robin Williams). Nothing wrong with those writers, but for someone who presents himself as a radical who wants his students to live life in the now, Keating is just as dedicated to the dead white male canon as the stuffy professors he derides.

Obviously, as a part of Switchback, a press that publishes new books by living women poets, this gets under my skin a bit. But even in the historical setting of the movie, which Wikipedia tells me is 1959, Keating chooses to focus on the archaic over the radical. Langston Hughes had been publishing for decades. So had Edna St. Vincent Millay. Even a mention of a more contemporary white male poet like Philip Larkin or Wallace Stevens would have spoken to a belief in poetry as a living thriving thing, instead of an artifact to be discovered in a cave. But no, for Keating, Thoreau, Whitman, and Shelley are still "the biggies."

For that matter, by the time this story takes place, Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems had been out for three years, and anyone interested in poetry had at least heard of it in the news. If Keating is such a radical, so unconcerned with what might get him fired, why not blow his students' minds with a work that was in the process of permanently altering the literary landscape. Think of how much Ginsberg's articulation of gay desire (so much more overt and shameless than Whitman's) might have meant to deeply closeted young Todd (Ethan Hawke), who's so incapable of processing his feelings for Neil (Robert Sean Leonard).

And the movie's outlook wouldn't be so offensive if it wasn't so widely shared, especially among the "appreciation" community. Far too many people who tell you they love poetry will have a list of favorite poets that includes not one living writer. In my experience, it's often the much-derided "critical analysis" types who are actually engaging with poetry as the living, breathing thing that it is, rather than something an agreed-upon list of dead people left for us to discover in the old Indian Cave.

Elle Collins is the in-house graphic designer for Switchback Books. She holds degrees in puppetry and film theory, and works in Chicago as a designer, editor, and digital asset manager.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

See you in Seattle

AWP is almost here! We are thrilled to be headed to Seattle for this year's conference. Stop by table I22, in the North Hall, and come to our reading with Coconut and Les Figues on Thursday night.

So many more AWP details to come. We'll see you in Seattle!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AWP 2014 Off-site Event with Coconut and Les Figues

Switchback Books will be in Seattle for AWP 2014! Mark your calendars and join us at our off-site event with  Coconut Poetry and Les Figues Press on Thursday, February 27th!

Switchback authors Jessica Bozek and Jennifer Tamayo are reading, along with Gatewood Prize 2012 Winner, Stefania Heim (A Table That Goes on for Miles), and Gatewood Prize 2013 Winner, Morgan Parker (Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night).

Check out the Facebook event for more details:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lambda Literary Spreads the Word about Switchback's 2014 Queer Voices Contest

Lambda Literary is spreading the word out about our 2014 Queer Voices Contest:

There are only 15 more days to submit, so send us your manuscripts soon!

Submit manuscripts and review contest guidelines on Submittable:

Deadline: February 1, 2014
Judge: Dawn Lundy Martin
Entry Fee: $10
Honorarium: $1000

Monday, January 13, 2014

Check out Autostraddle's Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2013 List and Submit to Switchback's 2014 Queer Voices Contest

Submit your manuscript to Switchback's  2014 Queer Voices Contest, and maybe we will see your book on this list next year! Check out Autostraddle's top 10 Queer and Feminist books of 2013:

Submit to Switchback's 2014 Queer Voices Contest today! Guidelines posted at Submittable:

Judge: Dawn Lundy Martin
Contest Fee: $10
Deadline: February 1, 2014
Honorarium: $1000