Switchback, University of San Francisco’s Literary Magazine

by Cara Baker

Switchback is a literary magazine published by the graduate students of the USF MFA program. Their website is well put together, my favorite being their links page which connects their readership with other literary magazines, affordable web design companies and literary venues. Definitely check out their links. They may prove very useful to you.

The group publishes two issues per year in the fall and spring, coinciding with the school semester. Each issue has a theme and it is always something vs. something. For example, their last issue was titled Process vs. Product. Past issues include Stillness vs. Frenzy and Confession vs Mask. Only critical essays and artwork need to relate to the theme. If they publish your work you will be included in their contributor bio section. They take electronic submissions twice per year and accept outside submissions as well as from USF students and faculty. They require the genre and title in the subject line and the work as an attachment. Submitters may not include their name in the attachment in order to keep everything anonymous which I think appeals to those whose work is being judged. Artists, take note; they have a limited amount of artwork and are looking for more submissions so send in your best work. Just make sure it ties in to their theme for the issue. You will need to send an explanation on how your piece relates to the their theme. Each semester they throw a launch party to which everyone is welcome. The readings at these events are archived in in the magazine’s online video section and on You Tube.

If you are not planning to submit to the magazine please at least check it out. It is a well made magazine and it is clear that much effort goes into selecting fine work. The selection of poetry pushes the boundaries and is often experimental in nature. The art reflects this aesthetic as well. I feel that many of the pieces will beg another reading and they certainly challenge the reader to think about what they’ve just read.

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