News Archive

Switchback has a new home!
August 1 2018

Please visit us at SwitchbackJournal.com to see our latest publications, submission guidelines, and more.

Your Outrage Contest Results!
August 18 2017

Congratulations to Sandra Inskeep-Fox and her poem "My Mother Finally Tells Him Off" for being selected as the "Your Outrage" contest winner and receiving the $500 prize. We had many great submissions and the decision making process was not easy.  Alongside Sandra's poem we have those that were chosen as honorable mentions. Thank you to everyone for submitting and taking part in our 2nd annual contest! 

New Contest--Your Outrage!
February 20 2017

We’re looking for well-crafted poems, short stories, and nonfiction pieces that capture the intensity of the word outrage. Producing art during times of turmoil and uncertainty can lead to works of significant consequence and meaning. Art helps the world make sense of the chaos around us and move things forward. We want you to grapple with the world and show us Your Outrage.


The winner will receive $500 and publication in our online journal.



This themed contest will begin accepting submissions on Monday, February 27th at 12:01 am PST and will have a firm deadline of Sunday, April 16th at 11:59 pm PST. General submissions to Switchback will remain open.



$5 per submission for the contest.

In order to be eligible for the contest, writers must both submit their work on Submittable AND follow the link below to pay the required $5 entry fee. Both MUST be done in order to be judged for the prize.

PAY $5 ENTRY FEE HERE: https://commerce.cashnet.com/usfcaSLM

(All entries will be considered for publication in our online journal. General submissions to Switchback are free, but will not be considered for the contest’s prize.)


The winner will be contacted directly one week prior to public announcement on our website.


Open to writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Entries must not have appeared previously in print or online. There is no minimum word count, but the maximum is 3,000 words. This contest will be judged by the Switchback editorial staff. People affiliated with Switchback, and their family members, are ineligible. Current University of San Francisco faculty, staff, and students are also excluded from entering this contest. Prize money may be subject to tax withholding.

Spring 2016 Editor's Prize Winner
June 15 2016

At this time we would like to announce Jonathan Danielson as the winner of our 2016 Spring Editor's Prize for his short story: "Borders". This piece was part of our Relaunch Celebration and is indicative of the writing that we hope to continue to publish here at Switchback. You can find his story to the left or by clicking the following link: https://www.swback.com/issues/2016/borders.html

New Work!
June 15 2016

June 15th--NEW POETRY! We've got three awesome poems from Julia Rox today and for as great as her titles are, the poems are even better!!

Contest Winner!
June 14 2016

We would like to announce  Iza Wojciechowska as the winner of our "Your History Contest" for her personal essay: "What, Rabbit?"!! This will be featured on our site next Wednesday, June 22nd! In the meantime you can check out her writing endeavors at: izawojciechowska.com. Congratulations Iza!!

New Fiction!
June 8 2016

June 8th--We are thrilled to feature the writing of Siobhan Welch on the site today. Her short story: "The Next Best Thing" captured all of our attention and we hope you receive the same enjoyment!

This Week's Featured Work
June 1 2016

June 1st--For this week's work the entire editorial staff is excited to publish poet, Cheryl Ossola, and her poem: "Fishing".
Ossola is an alum of the MFA program here at University of San Francisco and is very active in the Bay Area Writing Community.

This Week's Featured Work
May 25 2016

May 25th--Today's featured piece is: "A Conversation With Jill Talbot" where Non-fiction Editor, Kelsey Ahlmark, discusses everything from the Texas author's writing and parents, to first love and favorite Stevie Nick's song. Talbot was one of five writers who participated in the Emerging Writers Festival here at USF in April and we are grateful for her taking the time to chat with Kelsey.

Your History Contest!
May 17 2016

Thank you to everyone who submitted to our: "Your History Contest"! 
Switchback's editorial staff will be reviewing all submissions over the next 
couple of weeks and will announce the winner of the $500 prize ASAP! 
In the meantime, our submission queue is open and we are accepting 

April 5 2016

Your History
We are pleased to announce our new contest that is officially underway. 
What we're looking for are well-crafted poems, short stories, and nonfiction pieces that challenges our conception of the history. Writing the past fixes it to paper even as the idea seems to be ever changing; explore and explode our notions through compellingnarratives and/or experimental language. Scare us. Excite us. Tell us Your History

$5 entry fee!
The deadline HAS BEEN EXTENDED until Sunday, May 15th at 11:59 PST. 

Winner will receive $500 and publication in our online journal. 

Click "submit" at the top of the browser or follow the link below:

Issue 22 Is Here!
November 17 2015

Switchback Issue 22 is up and available for all to read. Please take a look, won't you? Congratulations to the winner of our Editors' Prize, Jim Krosschell, for his essay "Loon," and to our runners-up: Alan Hill for his poem "Amelia Hill," and Greg Larson for his essay "Confessions of a Minor-League Jockstrap Washer." The issue also features photography by Tammy Ruggles, and a short film by Josh Steinbauer. We sincerely hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Thanks for reading!

Two New Podcast Episodes
October 10 2015

Two new episodes of the Switchback podcast are available for your listening pleasure! In the first, Ian and Greg start a discussion about life after the MFA, talking about what editors at publishing houses actually do. In the second, fellow USF MFA student Allison Rodriguez comes into the studio to talk about her internship at ZYZZYVA, a lit mag based in downtown San Francisco.

Fling! An Interview with Lily Iona Mackenzie
September 7 2015

In the latest episode of the Switchback podcast, author Lily Iona Mackenzie comes into the studio to talk about her latest book, Fling!, released earlier this summer by Pen-L Publishing. After reading a selection from the book, Lily talks with hosts Greg Poulos and Stan O'Neill about the craft of writing, the importance of being a shapeshifter, and why we bother to read and write at all.

Subscribe to the Switchback podcast on iTunes, or listen on Soundcloud.

Taking a Cannon to the Canon
July 3 2015

CannonIf you had to remove a book from the literary canon, which one would you choose? And what would you replace it with? Ian and Greg discuss their picks in the latest episode of the Switchback Podcast. (Before talking about science fiction for a while.)

A Little Lumpen Novelita: A Review
June 15 2015

Switchback contributing editor Colter Ruland reviews Roberto Bolaño's A Little Lumpen Novelita (New Directions), placing the novel in the larger context of Bolaño's other works: "It fits right into the 'Bolañoverse', a dark fictional realm of twentieth-century decay replete with poet-gangsters, psychological suspense, horror tropes, dark smoky atmospheres, heightened sexuality, and lots and lots of murder. Yet the restraint in Lumpen is astonishing, making it both the most and least Bolañoesque novel I've yet to read." Keep reading here!

Podcast, Relaunched
April 23 2015

EarphonesWe've just relaunched our podcast to a new half-hour conversation format. The first new episode features Switchback staffers Ian and Greg talking about their experiences at this year's AWP conference in Minneapolis, earlier this month. If you're not subscribed to our podcast feed yet, now's definitely the time.

Fall Submission Period Open
April 16 2015

We've recently reopened our reading period for the Fall 2015 issue of Switchback. We'll be accepting new work through August 31. As usual, there's no submission fee, and all works are automatically considered for the Editors' Prize, which comes with a cash prize. Head on over to our call for submissions page to learn more about Switchback's submission guidelines and how to submit to the magazine.

Issue 21 Is Here!
April 1 2015

It may be April Fool's Day, but I'm not even joking: Switchback Issue 21 is live and available for all to read. Please take a look, won't you? I'd also like to congratulate the winner of our Editors' Prize, Robyn Goodwin, for her essay "The Boy Under Construction", as well as our runners-up, fiction writer Kori Frazier Morgan (for "No Sugar Tonight") and poet Adrian Arias (for "Breve diccionario del cuerpo/Brief Body Dictionary"). Please stay tuned for the announcement of our new submission period, which will be opening imminently. Thanks for reading!

An Interview with Hala Alyan
March 24 2015

Hala AlyanYou might have caught Hala Alyan reading her poetry at the Emerging Writers Festival at the University of San Francisco this week. Switchback staffer Richard Suplee recently had a chance to talk to the award-winning poet and ask her some questions. You can read the whole interview here.

An Interview with Alan Kaufman
March 24 2015

Alan KaufmanOver the course of his writing career, Alan Kaufman has published memoirs, novels, poetry, and is the editor of the well-known Outlaw Bible series of anthologies. Recently, Switchback contributor Todd Follett had the opportunity to ask Alan about his career as a writer, as well as about the history, importance, and influences of Outlaw literature as "a literature that serves, existentially-speaking, as a spiritual and intellectual ‘underground railroad’ to consciousness.” Check it out!

Man Alive / Thomas Page McBee
November 24 2014

Man AliveStaff member Laura Robledo has a new review of Thomas Page McBee's memoir Man Alive, which she describes as "an inspiring, raw tale of a man searching for an identity." Check it out!

An Interview with Sandra Lim + When Mythical Creatures Attack!
November 5 2014

Sandra LimThis week on Switchback, check out our interview with poet extraordinaire Sandra Lim, who visited USF back in the Spring as a part of the Emerging Writers Festival. Also, be sure to read former Switchback staff member Joseph Gordon's review of When Mystical Creatures Attack! just out from the University of Iowa Press. Happy reading!

In the Course of Human Events / Mike Harvkey
November 3 2014

Human EventsIssue 20 is still fresh in the world, but this Monday we've got a new review for you to check out. Staff member Colter Ruland reads and reviews In the Course of Human Events: "Mike Harvkey has created a work that’s as stylistically hyperrealistic as its topic is incendiary. The stakes are constantly getting higher, and it’s terrifying to watch as Clyde Twitty increasingly uses violence as a way to discharge his voice, his desire to be someone that matters."

Switchback's Issue 20 has arrived!
November 1 2014

Attention! Switchback's Issue 20 is live on our site and you can read it in its entirety on our site's homepage, as well as forever within our issue archives. A special congratulations goes out to Alaina Symanovich, winner of our notable Editors' Prize for her piece "Nothing Gold." And a hand must also be given to the two runners-up, respectively, E. Eastman ("El Suavecito") and James D'Agostino ("Necrostellar Holdings and Loan"). We will be reopening the door for submissions imminently, so stay tuned for that announcement sometime in the not-to-distant future. Thanks for reading! 

An Interview with David Wojahn and our October podcast!
October 30 2014

David WojahnDavid Wojahn will be at the University of San Francisco on November 11th to give a poetry reading. Recently, he sat down with Poetry Editor Virginia Barrett to answer some of her questions. Read the whole feature here. Also have a listen to our very own Ian Jacoby read on the October podcast. And remember ISSUE 20 drops tomorrow!

Sean Wilsey's More Curious
October 28 2014

More CuriousIssue 20 is just around the corner! To tide you over till then have a look at Nonfiction Editor Andrew Maynard's review of More Curious by Sean Wilsey (McSweeney's): "Whether Wilsey is attacking NASA or soccer or his love of skateboarding or the time he spent volunteering as a greeter for victims in the Plaza Hotel the week after 9/11, he is constantly searching for glimpses of beauty in humanity." 

Craft Talk No. 2: Dean Rader on Titling
October 6 2014

This week on Switchback, we pick Dean Rader's brain on titles and their relationship to poems! Read the entire interview with Poetry Editor Cassie Duggan here: "Most of the time, the title comes last or nearly last. My fear with any poem is that it is either too accessible or too inaccessible. Depending on how I’m feeling, I might give a piece a title to help or hinder as the case may be."

Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy
September 22 2014

Invisible Hands coverIt's the last week of September, and we've got a great new review for you of Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy (McSweeney's) by current Associate Fiction Editor—soon to be Managing Editor of Switchback—Greg Poulos! "The voices presented here are unique; each plight is its own. And the stories are briskly told. This is a book you will want to read through to the very end, not because you feel some kind of abstract moral obligation to, but because these stories are fascinating and engaging."

Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging
August 29 2014

This weekend on Switchback, associate nonfiction editor Lorene Garrett reads and reviews Joshua Doležal’s Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging. "Doležal’s memoir is as much a song of praise for the land as it is a search for belonging. His Montana mountains, infused with bears that 'snuffle' and secret huckleberry patches, provide the perfect backdrop for this community of believers who claim the faith of the ‘60s Northern California hippies." Also, this weekend marks the end of our submission period for our Fall issue. Submit now!

July Podcast
July 30 2014

Have a listen to this month's podcast: Associate Poetry Editor Joseph Gordon reads a pair of poems, "birds who eat flowers" by Ali Lanzetta and "The B-Boy" by Martha Grover, both published in issue 11 of Switchback. Also keep in mind that August is the last month we're reading submissions for our Fall issue (20). Click here to submit today!

An Interview with Roger Reeves
June 14 2014

This weekend on Switchback, Poetry Editor Cassie Duggan has a chat with Roger Reeves, assistant professor of poetry at the University of Illinois, Chicago, about the state of poetry in the world: "So much of art is asking us to participate with and in it. You're not sitting in the church of poetry, passively. You say, hey I want to talk back to Eliot, or I want to talk back to Sexton, or I want to talk back to Natasha Trethewey, or I want to write something that disturbs this." You can read their entire conversation here

W.S. Di Piero's TOMBO and our May Podcast
May 20 2014

This week on Switchback, we're offering up a new book review by Associate Nonfiction Editor Robert O'Connell of W.S. Di Piero's newest collection of poems TOMBO: "Early in the work, Di Piero establishes himself as a masterful observer, precisely matching word to image and building fleeting scenes both familiar and subtly alien." Also, be sure to head over to our media page and listen to Associate Poetry Editor Ryan O'Toole read and discuss a couple poems!

Issue 19 & Call for Submissions!
May 1 2014

We are incredibly thrilled to bring to you today issue 19! Three essays, six stories, nine poems, and one artist's stunning visual work constitute our Spring issue. Of course you can read everything on our homepage, and forever in our issue archive. A special congratulations goes out to Lesley Wheeler, winner of this issue's Editors' Prize for her poem "Epistolary Art." And congratulations also to our first and second runners-up, respectively, Laurence Klavan ("Nucleus") and Christine Hennessey ("Hatchling"). The arrival of issue 19 means that we're reading submissions again for issue 20, which will be published this upcoming November. You can submit your work to us here. As always, thanks for reading and submitting to Switchback, we couldn't have done it without you. 

An Interview with Adam Peterson
April 23 2014

Check out this insightful interview conducted by Fiction Editor Joe Ransom with fiction writer Adam Peterson. "Revision is important to me, especially in my short shorts because I’m always whittling down the word count trying to get faster and better. But, for me, that usually doesn’t mean short Hemingway-y sentences but more nimble ones." Read the rest of their conversation here.

Happenstance by Robert Root and April Podcast
March 29 2014

This week on Switchback check out a new review of Robert Root's Happenstance, written by our very own Morgan Vogel Chinnock: "What emerges from these fragments of memory and photo paper and postcards is the sense of a family in a particular historical time and place." Also be sure to listen to our latest podcast. Fiction Editor Joe Ransom reads and discusses "Shooting Star" by Tyler Sage. 

Craft Talk No. 1: Bruce Snider on the Sonnet
March 25 2014

Introducing a new series of interviews, focused exclusively on craft, conducted by members of Switchback with the talented and accomplished faculty members of the University of San Francisco's MFA in Writing program. For our first installment, we present this conversation with poet Bruce Snider on the role of the sonnet in contemporary poetry. "The sonnet is a diamond-maker. If navigated skillfully, it’s intense pressure can crystallize language, thought, and feeling, making the poem incredibly vivid, immediate, and surprising."

An Interview with Michelle Orange
March 13 2014

Recently, our very own Robert O'Connell had the opportunity to sit down with Michelle Orange and chat with her about her writing. Here is the result of their conversation. Michelle Orange will be one of five visiting writers to give readings at the University of San Francisco as part of the Emerging Writers Festival on April 8th and 9th.

Review of Breakdown: Banjo Poems & New Podcast!
March 7 2014

Check out a new review by Robbi Nester of Dave Bonta's chapbook Breakdown: Banjo Poems published by Seven Kitchens Press: "Indeed, to read this writer’s poetry, his blogs, and all the other works of his busy hands is to see the world in an entirely new way." Also, if you haven't already, check out our latest podcast! Associate Nonfiction Editor Allison Rodriguez reads and discusses "Abundant Life" By Kian Razi, first published in issue 7 of Switchback. Thanks for listening, and reading!

January Podcast
February 4 2014

We're a little late getting this out into the world, but here it is. The most recent installment of our monthly podcast. Click here to listen to Poetry Editor Cassie Duggan read and discuss a couple poems from our most recent issue: "Topography" by Maggie Blake and "Anger" by Heather Angier. And remember, we have all our past podcasts archived for you to check out at your leisure. 

Lungs Full of Noise and A Brighter Word than Bright
January 24 2014

Lungs Full of Noise CoverThis weekend on Switchback, check out a couple new reviews we have of University of Iowa Press books! Managing Editor John Gibbs reviews A Brighter Word than Bright: Keats at Work by Dan Beachy-Quick. And Poetry Editor Cassie Duggan has a look at Lungs Full of Noise by Tessa Mellas: "This collection is starkly strange from start to finish; a book I simply didn’t want to put down."

If I'd Known You Were Coming and Toro Bravo
January 12 2014

You Were Coming CoverHere's a pair of book reviews to start your new year off right! Fiction Editor Joe Ransom reads and reviews If I'd Known You Were Coming by Kate Milliken. And Associate Nonfiction Editor Morgan Vogel Chinnock has a look at Toro Bravo out from McSweeney's: "The square hardcover binding is gorgeous, textured and loud. The full-page photographs by David Reamer are at once gritty and aesthetically pleasing. Movement and color fill the pages."

Writing That Risks and December Podcast
December 29 2013

In these last few days of 2013 check out a new review by Associate Nonfiction Editor Robert O'Connell of Writing That Risks, a new anthology put out by Red Bridge Press. "Writing That Risks features writers with vast imaginations but also, more importantly, talents for parsing human problems." We've also got one final podcast to present before this year expires. Head over to our media page to hear Associate Fiction Editor Greg Poulos read and discuss "A Lifted Idea" by Jim Nelson. Thanks for reading!

Making Americans: Children’s Literature from 1930 to 1960
December 12 2013

Making American CoverThis week on Switchback former Associate Fiction Editor Charlie Kennedy reads and reviews Gary D. Schmidt's Making Americans: Children's Literature from 1930 to 1960. "Schmidt’s voice is engaging; his passion for children's literature radiates. Making Americans is well-researched and offers an intelligent discussion on a topic that is perhaps as important today as it was then."

The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses XXXIX Nominations!
December 2 2013

Switchback is pleased to announce six nominations for The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses XXXIX: Instructions for Failure by Janet Benton; Recovery and Rehabilitation by Jessica Langan-Peck; The Yellow Names by Alec Hershman; Topography by Maggie Blake; Manuals for Trains by Rebecca Morgan Frank; December Notes by Michael Nagel. You can find all these pieces in issues 17 and 18 of Switchback. Congratulations to all nominees!

Switchback Podcast & Geoffrey G. O'Brien's People on Sunday
November 25 2013

Good news! The Switchback monthly podcast has returned! Head on over to our media page to hear Associate Fiction Editor Valerie Sedig read and discuss "Charon" by Cezarija Abartis, published earlier this month in issue 18 of Switchback. Also, check out a new review we have up of Geoffrey G. O'Brien's latest collection of poems, People on Sunday. As always, thanks for reading (and listening)!

Trances of the Blast & Issue 18 Release Party
November 11 2013

This week on Switchback, Poetry Editor Cassie Duggan has a look at Trances of the Blast by Mary Ruefle. "Her quirky intelligence always informs the poems, whether she is musing about hyper-sexual rabbits or grappling with the strangeness of childhood memories." Switchback will also be celebrating the release of issue 18 on Friday, November 15th at Green Apple Books at 7:00 p.m. Come on by if you live in or around San Francisco!

Issue 18: Rising & Call for Submissions!
November 1 2013

Our latest issue, Rising, has finally arrived! 9 poems, 6 stories, 4 essays, and 5 works of art. It might just be our best installment yet! A very special congratulations goes out to Jessica Langan-Peck, winner of our second-ever Editors' Prize award for her piece "Recovery and Rehabilitation." And congratulations to Michael Nagel ("December Notes") and Rebecca Morgan Frank ("Manuals for Trains"), the first and second runners-up, respectively! Of course the arrival of issue 18 means that we are now open for submissions once more! Visit our 'submit' page for more information about submissions. Issue 19 will be our first non-themed issue, so don't hold back! As always, thanks for reading and supporting Switchback!

The Streets of Buffalo, à la Carte: Thea Swanson’s The Curious Solitude of Anise
October 9 2013

Have a gander at a new review by former Switchback contributor Charles Haddox of Thea Swanson's newest book, The Curious Solitude of Anise. "Readers will experience the taste of a good cup of coffee and a pastry, the warmth of an old friend, the modest comforts that allow even those at the bottom of society to go on with their lives, and, above all else, the exhilaration that comes from expert, polished storytelling." Haddox's short story, "The Ugly Duckling," was first published in Issue 10 of Switchback

An Interview with Melanie Rae Thon, An Essay by Melanie Rae Thon
September 17 2013

This week on Switchback, Associate Fiction Editor Charlie Kennedy sits down and chats with Melanie Rae Thon about her work, teaching creative writing, and everything in between. "Each moment of our lives is eternal, dense with sensation, saturated with the past and informed by intimations of the future, full of miraculous encounters with living beings and potent entities." You can read the entire transcript and a brief essay by Melanie here

Fall Titles from McSweeney's Books!
August 30 2013

For your weekend, two hot-off-the-press reviews of forthcoming books from McSweeney's! Associate Fiction Editor Erin Berman has a look at End of Love by Marcos Giralt Torrente, and Associate Fiction Editor Charlie Kennedy tells us about Ten Years in the Tub, a collection of columns written by the much-adored Nick Hornby. "For me, it seemed that a couple of columns at a time was more than enough. I found myself frustrated at the slowness of my reading—here was Hornby ploughing through nine books in October 2004, and I was committed and bound to just reading one: his. But what a pleasure it was. A slow read, yes, but one to savour. One to dip into and out of, one to pull out of the bag when waiting for the bus, one to pick up before turning off the light at night."

A Riveting Read: Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco
August 12 2013

EmmausThis week on Switchback, Associate Fiction Editor Erin Berman reads and reviews Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco, just out this summer from McSweeney's Books! "If anything, this book is about questioning faith, though Baricco does not try to discern between good and evil. Instead, the resounding note at the end of the novel suggests that life is far more immaterial and impermanent than we realize."

We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down
August 6 2013

We'll Be the Last Ones CoverCheck out a new review by Associate Fiction Editor J. Haley Campbell of Rachael Hanel's new memoir, We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger's Daughter. "Growing up in cemeteries, Hanel observed her gravedigger father—known fondly as Digger O’Dell—tend to people’s last physical stop in this world. Hanel was a quizzical and imaginative child who, under her mother’s guidance, began to use stories to piece together the why and how of death."

This Feeling of Empathy: Participants by Andrew Keating
July 9 2013

Participants CoverThis week on Switchback, Fiction Editor Joe Ransom reads and reviews Andrew Keating's debut collection of short stories, Participants. "With a keen eye for workplace idiosyncrasies, Keating’s world is one that often deliberately focuses on characters you probably wouldn’t even glance at if they sat next to you on the bus during the morning commute."

Brooklyn's Poet Laureate: An Interview with Tina Chang
June 21 2013

Here's something to carry you into your weekend. Tina Chang chats with Switchback about the roles of a poet laureate, the inaugural poet, revision, social media, and more! "From the moment I wake up to the moment I close my eyes to sleep, each and every day there is something to notice, something to note, something to remember, and hopefully something to write about."

Prairie Lights Books & Philip Levine
June 17 2013

Coming Close CoverCheck out a couple recently added reviews of Philip Levine books just out from Prairie Lights Books. Managing Editor John Gibbs reads and reviews Sweet Will and Coming Close. "When we read Levine's poetry, we are reading Levine himself. He wears no mask when he composes. He hides behind no abstractions. He simply tells things how they are."

Meandering Toward Meaning in Michelle Herman's Stories We Tell Ourselves
June 8 2013

Associate Nonfiction Editor Morgan Vogel Chinnock reads and reviews Stories We Tell Ourselves, Michelle Herman's new collection of essays. "Herman’s openness to the greater world, along with her willingness to display her own opinions and experiences, creates an essay that is at once personal and global, confessional and critical, emotional and objective."

Emerging Writers Festival Video
May 24 2013

Back in early April, as part of USF's Emerging Writers Festival, five talented writers came to campus to give readings and collectively participate in a panel discussion about the writing life. The readings were split into two separate days. Day One saw the likes of Tina Chang, Marlon James, and Elena Passarello. Day Two featured Dana Johnson and Shane McCrae. Check out the video content now if you missed seeing them in the flesh.

Skin I'm In: Ariana Nadia Nash's Instructions for Preparing Your Skin
May 13 2013

Poetry Editor Cassie Duggan reads and reviews Instructions for Preparing Your Skin by Ariana Nadia Nash, winner of the 2011 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry. "These poems are overwhelming, dripping with courageous passion and an astute awareness of what it means to be human."

Broken Is Here
April 30 2013

Switchback 17: Broken is online now! It's a fantastic issue and our largest one to date. Special congratulations to Heather Frese, winner of our first ever Editors' Prize. Congratulations also goes out to Laura Read and Alec Hershman the first and second runners-up respectively. You can read all of Broken right here online or download the issue as a PDF from our media page. The arrival of issue 17 also means submissions are now open for our next issue. Switchback 18: Rising will be here in the fall of 2013. Send us your best previously unpublished fiction, poetry, art and nonfiction now!

Broken: The Issue 17 Launch Party
April 27 2013

Join us for a reading celebrating the launch of Issue 17: Broken. Readers from the issue will be on hand to dazzle you. The new issue goes live May 1 and the celebration begins Friday May 3 at Sacred Grounds Cafe at 2095 Hayes St, San Francisco, California 94117. Readings will start at 6:30 PM.

SplitLevel Texts: A Cruel Nirvana and The Treatment of Monuments
April 17 2013

Patrick James Dunagan reviews two new collections from SplitLevel Texts, A Cruel Nirvana by Jerome Rothenberg and The Treatment of Monuments by Alan Gilbert.

A Race to Understand a Troubled Place: Michael Lavigne's The Wanting
April 9 2013

The Wanting CoverAlex Rieser reviews The Wanting by Michael Lavigne. 

An Interview with Hannah Tinti
April 5 2013

Photo by by Daniel WallaceFiction editor Michelle Boise interviews Hannah Tinti, author of Animal Crackers and The Good Thief

An Interview with Daniel Alarcón
March 23 2013

Daniel Alarcon PictureAssociate fiction editor Erin Berman interviews Daniel Alarcón, author of War by Candlelight, Lost City Radio and more. On this month's Audio vs. Visual, Associate fiction editor Charlie Kennedy reads "A Case of the Puncs" by Andrew McLinden from Switchback 16: Current.

Lenore Zion's Wicked Smart Novel Stupid Children
March 20 2013

Stupid Children CoverAssociate fiction editor J. Haley Campbell reviews Lenore Zion's new novel, Stupid Children.

New Reviews and the March Podcast
March 5 2013

Wedlocked CoverTo hold you over while you wait for issue 17, we offer two new reviews and the return of Audio vs. Visual, the Switchback podcast. First up, Associate nonfiction editor Morgan Vogel Chinnock reviews the debut memoir from Jay Ponteri, Wedlocked. Next, Associate fiction editor Charlie Kennedy takes a look at The Bone Man by Wolf Haas. Finally, returning podcast favorite Juli C. Lasselle reads and discusses "Little Bird" by Constance Ford, originally published in Switchback 16: Current. Listen to it on our media page or on iTunes.

Two New Review for February: Karen Rigby's Chinoiserie and Alejandro Zambra's Ways of Going Home
February 26 2013

Poetry editor John Gibbs takes a look at Karen Rigby's Chinoiserie, winner of 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. Associate fiction editor Erin Berman reviews the latest from Alejandro Zambra, Ways of Going Home.

Manu Joseph's The Illicit Happiness of Other People, A Novel
February 19 2013

Associate fiction editor Charlie Kennedy reads and reviews Manu Joseph's The Illicit Happiness of Other People, A Novel

Poetry Performance and Communication: An Interview with Judy Kronenfeld
January 24 2013

Judy KronenfeldRobbi Nester interviews poet Judy Kronenfeld, author of Shimmer and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths.

Courttia Newland Explores London’s Social Rifts in The Gospel According to Cane
January 23 2013

Gospel According to CaneAndrew Blackman reviews Courttia Newland's The Gospel According to Cane from Akashic Books.

A Sharp Debut: Jamie Sharpe's Animal Husbandry Today
January 18 2013

Animal Husbandry Today coverPoetry editor John Gibbs tackles Jamie Sharpe's debut collection, Animal Husbandry Today.

Susan Wheeler's Meme: A Contagious Book of Poems
January 12 2013

Associate poetry editor Cassie Duggan reads and reviews Susan Wheeler's Meme, 2012 Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry.

Joshua Cohen's Verbal Gymnastics: Four New Messages
January 2 2013

Four New Messages coverFor the new year, associate fiction editor Juli C. Lasselle reads and reviews Four New Messages by Joshua Cohen.

The Grittiness and Challenge of Zadie Smith's NW
December 20 2012

NW CoverAssociate fiction editor Charlie Kennedy reviews NW by Zadie Smith.

Mindy Mejia’s The Dragon Keeper
December 11 2012

Dragon KeeperInge Lamboo reads and reviews Mindy Mejia's The Dragon Keeper from Ashland Creek Press.

Oni Buchanan's Must a Violence and the new Audio vs. Visual
December 4 2012

Poetry editor John Gibbs reads and reviews Oni Buchanan's Must a Violence while associate fiction editor Juli C. Lasselle reads and discusses Michael James Rizza's "Anonymous" on Audio vs. Visual.

Pushcart Nominations
November 27 2012

Switchback is pleased to announce our 2012 Pushcart nominees. In fiction, Tasha Matsumoto (Sores) and Andrew McLinden (A Case of Puncs). In poetry, Chris Carosi ($) and Jennifer Liberts Weinberg (California Rectangle). And in nonfiction, Louis Bourgeois (Blue Boy) and Natalie Vestin (Everything Here Belongs Somewhere). These works can be found in issues 15 and 16 of Switchback. Congratulations to all these talented writers on their incredible accomplishments. It has been a privilege to publish their short stories, poems and essays. 

My Heart is an Idiot and Saying Yes in Russian
November 19 2012

Paul Kavanagh reviews Saying Yes in Russian by Caroline Clark, while nonfiction editor Catherine Wargo Roberts takes a look at Davy Rothbart's My Heart is an Idiot.

Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino
November 15 2012

Fiction editor Michelle Boise reads and reviews Safe as Houses, the first collection from Marie-Helene Bertino, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award.

New Audio vs. Visual: Aaron Shurin
November 7 2012

This month on Audio vs. Visual, associate poetry editor Stephen Novotny reads and discusses two poems by Aaron Shurin. Listen now on our media page or look for it on iTunes.

Issue 16: Current is Here Now!
October 31 2012

Switchback 16: Current is online now! Current features work from such writers as Jeanie Chung, Chris Carosi, Rich Ives, elena minor, Renée K. Nicholson and more. Plus, be sure to check out Patrick James Dunagan's review of Purple Passages: Pound, Eliot, Zukofsky, Olson, Creeley, and the Ends of Patriarchal Poetry by Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Captain Poetry’s Sucker Punch: A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980-2012 by Kenneth Warren. You can read all of Current online or download it as a handy pdf from our media page. Current is also available for the kindle at Amazon.com.

We are now accepting submissions for Switchback 17: Broken, to be published May 2013. For Switchback 17, an Editor's Prize will be awarded in the amount of $200.00 to the submission best addressing the issue theme (Broken). Additional prizes in the amount of $75.00 and $50.00 respectively will be awarded to the first two runners up. There is no fee to enter. Submissions need not address the issue theme in order to be considered for publication. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting.We look forward to seeing what you send us!

New Flash Fiction and Ruefle's Madness, Rack, and Honey
October 24 2012

Madness, Rack, and HoneyCurrent arrives in less than a week! To hold you over in the meantime, enjoy new flash fiction from Kaye Linden and John Gibbs' review of Mary Ruefle's Madness, Rack, and Honey.

2012 Best of the Net Nominations
October 21 2012

Switchback is pleased to nominate the following authors and poets for Sundress Publications 2012 Best of the Net. In fiction Robyn Carter (Like Nothing) and Eric Ramiseier (Tractor Incident), in nonfiction Louis Bourgeois (Blue Boy) and Kirby Wright (Mango Wars) and in poetry Elizabeth Robinson (On January 1, On Palidromes), Anhvu Buchanan (Charting), Jennifer Liberts Weinberg (California Rectangle), Amy Small-McKinney (Nighttime, Enigma, and Nostalgia) and Matt Kulisch (Eros in Footnote). All of these works can be found in either Issue 14 or 15. It is our immense privilege to publish such amazing work from such talented writers. 

Alejandro Ventura's Puerto Rico
October 17 2012

Puerto Rico Cover ImageCharlie Kennedy reads and reviews Alejandro Ventura's poetry collection Puerto Rico.

Breaking New Ground: Between Heaven and Here
October 9 2012

Between Heaven and HereAssociate Fiction Editor Erin Berman pays a visit to Rio Seco, California, courtesy of Susan Straight's new novel, Between Heaven and Here

New for October
October 2 2012

This month on Audio vs. Visual, Associate Poetry Editor John Gibbs reads and discusses "Standing in line for the Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" by Alex Stolis. Plus new flash fiction from Kathryn Sukalich and a review of Traci Chee's Consonant Sounds for Fish Songs by Associate Fiction Editor Charlie Kennedy.

Interviewing Jo Ann Beard, Reviewing Norman Stock
September 27 2012

Jo Ann BeardAssociate Fiction Editor Erin Berman interviews Jo Ann Beard, author of In Zanesville and The Boys of My Youth. Associate Poetry Editor John Gibbs reviews Pickled Dreams Naked by Norman Stock. 

As if it Fell from the Sun: Celebrating the Poetry of EtherDome
September 24 2012

Chelsea DeRose reads and reviews the new anthology from EtherDome, As if it Fell from the Sun.

Lit Crawl 2012: Emerging Bay Area Writers
September 14 2012

Switchback is once again proud to be participating in Lit Crawl SF. Join us Saturday, October 13 at 6:00 in the Women's Building, Room A, for a reading with Emerging Bay Area Writers. Readers include Chris Carosi, Kate Folk, Courtney Moreno, Janice Worthen and Arisa White. Don't miss out on the celebration of Litquake's closing night.

They, Too, Sing America: Buckley & Ott's Poets' Guide to America
September 12 2012

Associate Poetry Editor, John Gibbs reads and reviews Poets' Guide to America by John F. Buckley and Martin Ott.

And the winner is...
September 6 2012

Congratulations to John Riley, whose story "A Forest" was chosen as the winner of the final flash contest. Thank you to all those who entered over the last year and helped make the contest such a success. 

Audio vs. Visual and New Work from Otis/Seismicity Editions
August 30 2012

This month on Audio vs. Visual, Associate Nonfiction Editor Lina Shustarovich reads and discusses "Parade" by Juliet Grable. "Parade" was originally published in Switchback 15: Rosita. In reviews, Patrick James Dunagan takes a look at two new collections from Otis/Seismicity Editions, Opera Omnia or, a Duet for Sitar and Trombone and Tlemcen or Places of Writing.

Q&A with Molly Antopol
August 20 2012

Fiction Editor, Michelle Boise interviews author and Wallace Stegner Fellow Molly Antopol.

Three or More Questions With Garrett Hongo
August 15 2012

Associate poetry editor, Stephen Novotny interviews poet and essayist Garrett Hongo

Something Out There: Catherine Chandler’s Sonnet Cycle
August 13 2012

Jonathon Penny reads and reviews the new sonnet cycle This Sweet Order by Catherine Chandler.

Audio vs. Visual: Blue Boy
August 7 2012

This month on Audio vs. Visual, Nonfiction Editor Catherine Wargo Roberts reads "Blue Boy" by Louis Bourgeois. "Blue Boy" was originally published in Switchback 15: Rosita. Listen to it here or subscribe on iTunes. 

And the winner is...
August 2 2012

Congratulations to Jaylee Alde, whose submission "The Run of Us" was chosen as the winner of the July flash contest. August concludes our year long monthly flash contest so get your submissions in now! The final prompt is "The end." 

And the winner is...
July 2 2012

Congratulations to Rocky Wilson, whose submission "Brownies Honor" was chosen as the winner of the June flash contest. Submit your entries for the July contest and see your work featured in Switchback. The July prompt is: "No one really knows the ones they love. If you knew everything they thought, I bet that you'd wish that they'd just shut up."

June's Audio vs. Visual
June 29 2012

For the June Audio vs. Visual, Ryan O'Toole reads and discusses "On Grass" by Elizabeth Robinson. "On Grass" was originally published in Switchback 14: Global vs. Local. Listen to it here or subscribe on iTunes.

Eric D. Goodman Reviews The Year of the Gadfly
June 19 2012

Eric D. Goodman reviews the debut novel from Jennifer Miller, The Year of the Gadfly.

Coastal Poetry: Dear Oxygen and California Redemption Value
June 18 2012

Patrick James Dunagan reviews Dear Oxygen: new & selected poems, 1966-2011 by Lewis Macadams and California Redemption Value by Kevin Opstedal.

California Redemption Value and Audio vs. Visual
June 5 2012

Aysegul Savas returns to Audio vs. Visual to read and discus "It Was a Mild Form" by Robin Demers from Switchback 6: Dialectic vs. Antinomy. Also, Alex Rieser reviews California Redemption Value by Kevin Opstedal.

And the winner is...
June 4 2012

Congratulations to Ronit Feinglass Plank, whose story "Invisible Place" was chosen as the winner of the May flash contest. The June prompt is: "Two people face each other, each hoping the other would do something they both want.  They wait.  To break the silence, to spark negotiations, one of them says, 'I accidentally ate the whole thing.'"

Submit today and see your work featured on Switchback!

Collective Memory in Evelyn Posamentier's Poland at the Door
May 23 2012

Trena Machado reviews Poland at the Door, by Evelyn Posamentier

An Interview with Laura van den Berg
May 4 2012

Susan Lundgren interviews Laura van den Berg, author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us.

And the winner is....
May 2 2012

Congratulations to Michael Larson, whose story "A Foreign Language" was chosen as the winner of the April flash contest. The May Prompt is "It's a lot easier to say when something ended rather than when it began. Most of us can recognize the end from a mile away, but the beginning always slips up on us, lulling us into thinking what we're living through is yet another moment, in yet another day."

Get your submissions in today!

Now Accepting Submissions for Issue 16: Current!
April 30 2012

Switchback is now accepting submissions for Issue 16: Current. Send us your best, previously unpublished fiction, poetry, nonfiction or art and see it in the next issue to be published this November. Submissions do not necessarily need to address the theme. We're looking for daring work, literature that electrifies with language strong enough to sweep us away. So what are you waiting for? Send us your work now!

The April Audio vs. Visual and Paul Kavanagh’s Iceberg
April 26 2012

Charles Haddox reviews Paul Kavanagh's Iceberg and Kate Folk reads "The Sad Sentence" by Andrew McLinden on Audio vs. Visual.

A Review of Skip Fox's Sheer Indefinite
April 17 2012

Patrick James Dunagan reviews the new collection Sheer Indefinite by Skip Fox.

Syntax as Music in Arisa White’s Hurrah’s Nest
April 6 2012

Karen Biscopink reviews Hurrah's Nest by Arisa White.

And the winner is...
April 1 2012

Congratulations to Dan Paquette whose poem "Polemic in Fragments" was chosen as the winner of the March flash contest. Submissions are now being accepted for April. The prompt is "Thought is made in the mouth." Get your submission in today!

Audio vs. Visual: Like Nothing and the Launch Party
March 27 2012

On this month's Audio vs. Visual, Kristin Seabolt reads and discusses "Like Nothing" by Robyn Carter, originally published in Switchback 14: Global vs. Local.
In community news, Switchback will be holding a launch party for Issue 16: Rosita on April 22 at 7:00pm at Sacred Grounds Coffee House in San Francisco. Featured readers will include Micah Ballard, Truong Tran, Renee K. Nelson, Lisa Piazza, Robyn Carter, Matt Kulish and Erica Jamieson. We hope to see you there!

At the Drawing Board with Jon Eastman and Stuart Thomas
March 20 2012

Juli C. Lasselle interviews Jon Eastman and Stuart Thomas, creators of the graphic novel series 13 Legends.

UPDATED: Switchback 15: Rosita is here now!
March 15 2012

Switchback 15: Rosita is live and ready for your reading pleasure! We have fantastic new work by Simon Perchik, Kirby Wright, Amy Small-McKinney, Michael James Rizza and many more. Also be sure to check out Kristin Seabolt's interview with Manuel Muñoz, author of The Faith Healer of Olive AvenueZigzagger and What You See in the Dark.

The launch party previously scheduled for Thursday March 29 at Books and Bookshelves has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to have something new on the books very soon!

And the winner is...
March 2 2012

Congratulations to Chris Menezes, whose submission "The Love of Death" was chosen as the winner of the February Flash Contest! The March prompt is "Three men walk into a bar." Send us your best work inspired by the prompt and see your work in Switchback.

Also, this month's Switchback: Audio vs. Visual is now online. Stephen Novotny reads and discusses three poems by Micah Ballard,
originally published in Switchback Issue 9: Horizontal vs. Vertical.

Alone Together: David Landrum's The Impossibility of Epithalamia
February 21 2012

Robbi Nester reviews The Impossibility of Epithalamia by David Landrum.

Nature, Terror and Renewal in Zilka Joseph’s What Dread
February 13 2012

Michelle Regalado Deatrick reviews the new collection from Zilka Joseph, What Dread.

2011 Best of the Net Anthology
February 10 2012

Congratulations to Dilruba Ahmed, whose poem "Mississippi Delta" was chosen to be included in the 2011 Best of the Net Anthology by Sundress Publications! "Mississippi Delta" war originally published in Switchback Issue 12: Minority vs. Majority.

Polar Bear Perils and Meditation on Woman
February 2 2012

This month on Audio vs. Visual, Associate Nonfiction Editor Catherine Wargo Roberts reads and discusses Polar Bear Perils, by Melodie Corrigall. Also, Carol Smallwood reviews the new collection by Aline Soules, Meditation on Woman.

And the winner is...
February 1 2012

Congratulations to Ellen McGrath Smith whose story "On Its Way to Some Long Fable" was chosen as the winner of the January flash contest. The February prompt is: "It was certainly not your typical love story." Send us your best work inspired by the prompt and see it here next month!

A Little Night Music: Kenneth Frost’s Night Flight
January 27 2012

Christina Cook reviews Kenneth Frost's Night Flight.

In Memoriam Rosita Nunes
January 27 2012

Rosita Nunes, founding editor of Switchback,  passed away on December 28, 2011, at her home in Castro Valley, after spending Christmas with her loving family—husband Stanton, sons Nicholas and Alex,  and beloved granddaughter Cali.

Over the years, Rosita lent her support to many enterprises that embodied her beliefs in social and environmental justice, strengthening community, and promoting the arts. Her vision when she entered the MFA writing program at USF was to established an online literary journal. She was the creative force behind Switchback and served as its first editor.

Today, as Switchback enters its ninth year, the gift that Rosita gave through her time and dedication continues to provide a platform for new and seasoned voices, serving as a focal point for the USF-MFA writing community, and inspiring writers and readers everywhere.

She will be deeply missed.

Bonus Audio vs. Visual: 0909_far_50 and a Review by Aline Soules
January 17 2012

For January we have a bonus installment of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual, as Maureen Alsop reads and discusses her recent collaboration with Joshua Gottlieb Miller and Sparky Campanella. Also, Aline Soules reviews the new collection Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity and Other Realms by Carol Smallwood.

And the winner is...
January 1 2012

Congratulations to Erica Jamieson whose story "Angels in the Wind" was selected as the winner of the December flash contest.  

The January prompt is: "No, that's not funny." Send us your best work inspired by the prompt and see it here next month!

An Interview with Michelle Tea
December 19 2011

Kristin Seabolt interviews Michelle Tea, author of Rent Girl, Valencia, The Chelsea Whistle and other works.

0909_far_50: A Collaborative Project
December 13 2011

New for December, "0909_far_50" a collaborative project featuring poetry and visual art from Maureen Alsop, Joshua Gottlieb Miller and Sparky Campanella. 

Audio vs. Visual: Jess & Jain
December 12 2011

For the December episode of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual, Associate Fiction Editor Juli C. Lasselle reads and discusses  "Jess & Jain" by Candra Kolodziej, originally published in Switchback Issue 13: Intuition vs. Logic. Listen to it here or on iTunes.

And the winner is....
December 1 2011

Congratulations to Melodie Corrigall whose story "Polar Bear Perils" was chosen as the winner of the November flash contest. The December prompt is: "They realized they were not alone." Send us your best work inspired by the prompt and see it here in January!

Global vs. Local Is Here Now
November 29 2011

We are proud to announce the release of Switchback: Global vs. Local, featuring work by Truong Tran, Kate Moses, Elizabeth Robinson, Abeer Hoque, Robyn Carter, and more! You can read the entire issue for free online or download it in pdf format from our media page. Switchback: Global vs. Local is also available in kindle format over at Amazon, where we are busy making our entire archive available for download.

We are also excited to announce that Switchback is now accepting unsolicited literary reviews. Please visit our submission page for more details regarding reviews as well as our monthly flash contest.

Audio vs. Visual: Spanking Without a Cause
November 14 2011

For the November installment of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual, Fiction Editor Jorge Cino reads and discusses "Spanking Without a Cause" by Kevin Killian, originally published in Switchback Issue 10: Figurative vs. Literal. Listen to it here or on iTunes.

An Interview with Ryan Van Meter
November 9 2011

Switchback's Michelle Boise talks Broken Social Scene and the Iowa Workshop with author Ryan Van Meter.

"On Despair" by Elizabeth Robinson
November 2 2011

Switchback: Global vs. Local is almost here! To hold you over in the meantime we are pleased to offer a new poem by Elizabeth Robinson, whose work will be included in our upcoming issue. Look for it here on December 1.

And the winner is.....
November 1 2011

Congratulations to Sarah Stafford whose story "The Morning after My Wedding" was selected as the winner of the October flash contest. 

The November prompt is: "Nobody ever knows anything for a fact." Send us your best work inspired by the prompt and see it here next month!

Audio vs. Visual: The Sympathizer
October 18 2011

For the October episode of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual, Associate Fiction Editor Aysegul Savas reads and discusses  "The Sympathizer" by David Booth, originally published in Switchback Issue 2: Confession vs. Mask. Listen to it here or on iTunes.

Talking with Augusten Burroughs, Reading Christopher Hennessy
October 4 2011

This month Nonfiction editor Lina Shustarovich interviews acclaimed writer Augusten Burroughs, while Poetry editor Karen Biscopink reviews the debut collection by Christopher Hennessy Love-in-Idleness.

And the winner is....
October 2 2011

Congratulations to Bob Thurber whose story "Here and Here and Here" was the winner of the September flash contest. 

The October prompt is: "I do, always, what I must do because I cannot undo it." Send us your best work inspired by the prompt and see you work appear in Switchback!

Out of Our and Switchback Present: Everywhere Is Home
September 21 2011

Switchback is proud to be participating in this year's Lit Crawl. We hope to see you at Mission Pie on October 15th where you'll hear Switchback contributors Jon Sindell, Tony Press, and Robyn Carter along with Out of Our contributors Jennifer Barone, Steven Gray, Jack Hirschman and Sarah Page. For more information please visit the Lit Crawl website.

Book Review: The Incompossible
September 12 2011

Patrick James Dunagan reviews Carrie Hunter's new full-length collection of poems, The Incompossible.

Audio vs. Visual: Three Poems by Todd Melicker
September 9 2011

On this edition of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual, poetry editor Karen Biscopink reads and discusses three poems by Todd Melicker, "Wait", "Tremble" and "Brittle", originally published in Switchback Issue 1: Tradition vs. Experimentation. Listen to it here or on iTunes.

Here Comes The Switchback Flash Contest
August 31 2011

Switchback is proud to announce the start of our monthly Flash Contest. Each month we will be giving you a prompt and we want you to give us your best work inspired by that prompt. The winning entry as decided by our editors will then be featured on the site. Submissions can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or even art, so long as it's amazing and 500 words or less.

The September prompt is: "He knew he should never have come here..."

That's it. Now it's your turn. Show us what you've got.

Book Review: The Madonnas of Echo Park
August 30 2011

C. Adán Cabrera reviews The Madonnas of Echo Park, the debut novel by Brando Skyhorse.

Audio vs. Visual: The Joys of Watching a Dog Fall Apart
August 15 2011

On this month's edition of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual, co-art editor Michelle Boise reads and discusses "The Joys of Watching a Dog Fall Apart" by Matt Farrell, originally published in Switchback Issue 13: Logic vs. Intuition. Listen to it here or on itunes.

An Interview with Truong Tran
August 5 2011

For our August interview, Switchback co-art editor Alex Rieser sits down with poet and visual artist Truong Tran to discuss his work and his transition from poetry to new mediums.

Gary Snyder’s New Beginner Enlightenment
July 12 2011

For the July book review Switchback contributor Patrick James Dunagan examines The Etiquette of Freedom: Gary Snyder, Jim Harrison, and the Practice of the Wild, a companion piece to the 2010 documentary The Practice of the Wild

Audio vs. Visual Podcast Episode 2
July 6 2011

On this episode of Switchback: Audio vs. Visual Stephen Beachy reads "12 Minutes" by Marream Krollos, originally published in Switchback Issue 8: Stillness vs. Frenzy. Listen on our media page or subscribe on itunes.

Switchback's Interview with Joyce Carol Oates
June 30 2011

For our July interview, Switchback's own Kate Folk has five questions for the preeminent author of Black Water, them, and Blonde.

Switchback Podcast now on itunes
June 14 2011

Switchback is proud to announce our official podcast is now available on itunes. Subscribe today and listen to staff members, past and present, read and discuss work we have featured over the years. We are likewise pleased to be featuring a poem by Stephen Bett, whose collection Track This: A Book of Relationship was reviewed earlier this month in Switchback.

An Interview with Tamim Ansary and the June Book Review
May 31 2011

No more long waits between issues for fresh Switchback content! Starting now, we are proud to announce that Switchback will be featuring monthly interviews and reviews with emerging and established writers. For June we have Aysegul Savas interviewing Tamim Ansary, as well as a review by Kelci Baughman McDowell of poet Stephen Bett's collection Track This: A Book of Relationship. Also, stayed tuned later this month for Audio vs. Visual, the official Switchback Podcast. Coming soon to itunes but available now on our website.

Goodbye Themes, Hello Submissions
April 30 2011

Switchback is now accepting submissions for issue 15! Switchback publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art. The deadline to submit is August 31, 2011, so make sure to check out our guidelines and send us your best work!


On a related note, it is with lowered heads and heavy hearts that we lay to rest our tradition of building each issue around a theme of juxtaposition. From “Tradition vs. Experimentation” all the way up to “Global vs. Local,” the “versus” concept has been a part of Switchback, challenging us to approach literature from contrasting points of view. Going forward, the onus will be on us to maintain that approach, independent of any specific theme, while continuing to publish the best in new work from emerging and established writers and poets.


Will our new theme-less approach lead us into strange and dangerous new territory? Unburdened from the constraints of a “versus” dichotomy will we run amok with our new found editorial freedom?


We certainly hope so. Be part of the experiment by submitting now to Switchback Issue 15. 

Moving Forward
April 22 2011

Hello All. I'm Keith, the incoming Managing Editor for Switchback. I'm thrilled to be stepping into the role after serving as an Associate Editor for the past two years. First off, I'd like to thank our outgoing editor Kelci M. Kelci for all her tireless, and at times unappreciated, work over the past few years. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that without her leadership there wouldn't be a Switchback today.  I know I speak for the entire staff when I say we're all sorry to see her go and wish her the best with her future endeavorers. 

We here at Switchback are extremely proud of Issue 13 Intuition vs. Logic. Not only do we have some amazing new work from both new and established writers, poets, and artists, but  we have also added some new features to our website to more fully embrace our identity as an online literary journal. Available on our media page, you can now find a pdf of the entire issue for convenient reading on your Digital Reader free of charge. You can also find us now on Amazon.com, where we are available for download directly to your Kindle. If you head over to itunes you can check out our new audio podcast "Switchback: Audio vs. Visual" where each month a member of the team reads and discusses a selection from a past issue. 

 And all of that is just the beginning. 

Coming in June, Switchback will be the place to go online to read reviews about new and exciting work as well as to find interviews with important literary figures from the community and beyond. 

We're very excited for the future of Switchback and we hope you are too. Thanks for reading. 

Party! Fiesta! Partito! Issue 13 Launch Party April 21
March 22 2011

We're putting the finishing touches on Issue 13: Intuition vs Logic... proofing the issue and waiting for one final review.

With great anticipation we announce our Issue 13: Intuition vs Logic launch party!

Thursday April 21, 2011
7:00-9 p.m.
Dog Eared Books (900 Valencia St.) in the Mission District of San Francisco

The following contributors will read their original works while free wine and good books are enjoyed in the background:

Aaron Shurin
Nicholas Leaskou
Patrick Dunagan 
Jon Sindell
Libby McDonnel
Candra Kolodziej
+ more!

Hosted by our fabulous retiring managing editor, Kelci M Kelci

We do hope to see you there! RSVP on Facebook

Another Issue Building Party in the Mid Richmond District: A Farewell
March 5 2011

Log in to staging server, create author bio, open plain text document, paste from plain text document, open formatted Word document, format from .doc, insert italics and indents...

Little by little the new issue 13 is coming together. The team here—Alex, Karen, Aysegul, Colin, and Keith via satelite—Röyksopp flowing from the stereo—type, click, paste, format, and mouse away. I periodically check the table of contents and see Aaron Shurin's two poems appear, then Heliotropes, then The Joys of Watching a Dog Fall Apart...

For me, this magical process of creating a whole from parts is bitter sweet because it is my last issue as Managing Editor. In between accepting submissions for issue 14: Global vs Local next month and building that issue in the Fall, I will demote myself to Advising Editor and hand over the reigns to Keith Powell, our fearless new leader.

This semester Switchback has undergone other organizational changes. We have appointed and initiated genre editors who head up the work of selecting for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Art and delegate tasks to the Associate Editors. We are focusing on new types of content, opening up to publishing reviews and podcasts. We're excited to have an interview of Noel Alumit by C. Adán Cabrera, our correspondent at large currently reporting from Los Angeles.

One thing I know for sure is that with or without me the staff of Switchback will continue to do what small and independent lit mags do best—publish work from new authors and poets and support our local literary scene.

I hope you enjoy Issue 13: Intuition vs Logic and don't forget—there is still a bit of time to submit your writing and art to Issue 14: Global vs Local. The deadline is St Patty's Day.

-Kelci Baughman McDowell, a.k.a. Kelci M. Kelci

Sip some vino and hear some great writing!
November 9 2010

Issue 12: Minority vs Majority is LIVE and by golly, we're gonna c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e! We've got free wine courtesy of Bear Flag Wine and an awesome line up of issue 12 contributors!

Join us on November 18, 2010 at Books and Bookshelves (99 Sanchez St in San Francisco) at 7:30 p.m. to sip some vino and listen to some great nonfiction, fiction, and poetry...

Jamey Genna (fiction)
Brian Martin (fiction)
Donna Laemmlen (fiction)
Danny Bracco (fiction)
Candy Shue (poetry)
Nicholas Leaskou reading the poetry of Dilruba (Ruba) Ahmed
Faith Adiele (nonfiction)
+ more!

From the barracks
September 25 2010

Another sunny San Francisco day, another issue-building party at Switchback.

Issue #12, "Minority vs Majority," is about to go live: one of the wildest Switchback issues ever. Lots of mind-bending, ear-popping, gravity-defying stuff; something about monkeys in the middle east, the Terracotta Army, and Peter Pan growing up to be a post-hippie. Authors that don't toe the literary line. 

And while we finish this one, we are gearing up for the next one: the submission period for issue #13 is almost over. Intuition vs Logic: Enemies? Allies? Secret lovers? 

Send us your work! Lucky Issue #13
June 30 2010

Lucky numbers! Chance! Fate! Destiny! Synchronicity! Kismet! Roulette! Blackjack! Nickel slots! Quarter slots! Card Counting!

...Intuition vs Logic...

Lucky Issue #13!

Send us your best work by October 1, 2010.


Summer time and the living's easy...
June 14 2010

Hello everyone! Summer has hit San Francisco full force... we are oscillating between record breaking highs and our normal permi-fog. Most of us on staff here are taking it easy, traveling or working on Major Project (the class USF MFA students take over the summer where they work on their theses). We are also looking forward to meeting the incoming cohort of MFA students... welcome to USF, class of 2012!

So what's going on at Switchback?

We've secure our line-up for issue 12.
We're soliciting art for issue 12.
We're thinking about doing a Switchback Editor's Reading this summer... Would you come if we read?
We've secured a new venue for our issue 12 launch party: Books and Bookshelves in the Castro, which we're super excited about. It's gonna be on November 18, 2010!
We're discussing the theme for issue 13, so we can open up the call for submissions.
We're looking forward to recruiting some new staff members from the incoming class!

Issue 12 Submissions Closed
March 18 2010

As yesterday came and went, so did our Issue 12 call for submissions (Minority vs Majority). The managing editor has just finished logging all the submissions and now the staff will begin reading them. We will discuss the work and make our publication decisions over the next few months. We hope to contact everyone with our publication decisions by late Spring or early Summer. From everyone at Switchback, we want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who submitted.

For those writers and artists that missed the deadline, our next reading period will begin sometime mid-Summer, once we decide on the next theme. Keep checking our call for submissions page, follow us on twitter, or befriend us on Facebook to be the first to know!

Issue 11 is Live!
March 11 2010

Today is our issue 11 launch party at Cantina... and we do have reason to celebrate: as you can see we've just loaded up a brand new issue of Switchback! We were excited building it but even more excited to see it LIVE. The issue turned out lovely thanks to our art contributors, we've got a full line up of quality writing thanks to our talented contributors of the written word, and the issue is flawless thanks to our relentless team of editors. Please enjoy browsing around and checking out the new issue!

Don't forget: we're still taking submissions for Issue 12: Minority vs. Majority until March 17. We especially need nonfiction and art submissions so send us your best!

Building and Taking Submissions!
February 6 2010

Even though it is a beautiful afternoon in San Francisco, staff members of Switchback have spent it inside, building Issue 11.  It looks good and we know everyone will love reading it as much as we have.  It's a new year and the first issue of Switchback in 2010 will be a big one, sure to offer something for readers of all tastes!

We are also reading for Issue 12: MINORITY V. MAJORITY!  Check out our submission guidelines and send us something awesome.  Our deadline is St. Patrick's day, the perfect excuse to reward yourself with a green cookie or beer after you've given us your best work.

Issue 11 Submissions
November 1 2009

The submission deadline for issue 11, Process vs Product, was yesterday, Halloween. Thanks to everyone who submitted work! We are really excited about the quality and the quantity and we're looking forward to discussing it.

We hope to make final acceptance decisions by Christmas time, and open up submission for issue 12 on New Years. Hopefully everything will run according to schedule...

Thanks again for reading and submitting!

The Switchback Staff 

Party With Us!
October 3 2009

Put us on your calendar!  On October 22 we will have the launch party for issue 10, Figurative vs. Literal.  Our reading will be at 7pm at Cantina, located at 580 Sutter Street (between Mason and Powell).  We'll be in the basement, so make your way past the bar and come down the stairs to join us.

You don't want to miss this line up!  Three great poets as well as David Vann, the newest faculty member in USF's MFA in Writing Program, will be reading:

  • Alison Doernberg
  • David Vann
  • Christina Hutchins
  • Linda Phillimore

See you there!

Now Accepting Issue 11 Submissions!
October 3 2009

Submit your work for issue 11!  The theme is Process vs. Product.  Art work submissions should reflect this theme, and all works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction will be considered, regardless of relation to theme.

The deadline is October 31st, so be sure to submit before Halloween candy goes on sale.  More information on submitting can be found here!  We can't wait to see or read your work!

August 22 2009

Welcome to Switchback!  A new year is starting here at the University of San Francisco, bringing together old and new Switchback staff as we launch issue 10 and begin looking at submissions for issue 11.  As part of this new year, the site itself is getting an updated look!  It has been a lot of hard work and a lot fun making Switchback an even more enjoyable experience for our readers and we hope you enjoy all the new features!


Kat Lewis

Poetry Editor
Preeti Vangani

Fiction Editor
Sayantika Mandal

Nonfiction Editor
Catherine Abalos

General Staff
Sean Stevens
Jeremiah Romm
Dani Cirignano
Ben Jameson

Faculty Advisor
Beth Nguyen

Founding Editors
Rosita Nunes & Alex Davis

All Current & Former Staff