Monica de la Torre & Switchback Books


today i finally finished my review of Monica de la Torre‘s TALK SHOWS (Switchback Books, 2006). Achiote Press was fortunate enough to publish Monica’s work in our Achiote Seeds Winter 2008 issue. one of the best moments at AWP in NYC last year was when i attended the Latin@ avant-garde panel and Monica was on it and she actually read from the Achiote Seeds issue!!! i rave about TALK SHOWS to most people i meet: its investigations of language, innovative use of collage, surprising narrativity, and various forms keeps the reader engaged throughout. it’s also a really funny book.

one thing i did find difficult in writing this review is that i read other reviews of it beforehand. doing this makes me feel compelled to try to approach the work from a different angle. of course, there is always overlap as far as major themes or quoted work. the worst is that one of the reviews was by joyelle mcsweeney; she is, in my opinion, one of the best reviewers out there. it’s kind of intimidating to review a book she’s already reviewed. but i tried my best. anyways, here joyelle’s review.

two other reviews here and here.


on the publisher, SWITCHBACK BOOKS, i know very little about as i dont own any of their other books. From their website:

Switchback Books is a feminist press publishing poetry by women. Our definition of “women” is broad and includes transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, and female-identified individuals. Founded in 2006 by a group of students at Columbia College Chicago, Switchback Books publishes two books a year, one of which is the winner of the Gatewood Prize for a first book of poetry by a woman aged 18 through 39. Switchback Books welcomes young women writers who aren’t afraid to look for answers in all directions.

and it seems they only accept submissions through their contest (tho they publish two books a year, they don’t say how they choose the other title–or else i just can’t find their guidelines on their website). here is their contest info ($15):

The Gatewood Prize is Switchback Books’ annual competition for a first full-length (48-80 pp.) collection of poems by a woman writing in English between the ages of 18 and 39. It is named after Emma Gatewood, the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

NEW! Manuscripts may now be submitted electronically. For more information, see “Submission Format” below.

2008 Judge:

Denise Duhamel

2008 Reading Period:

July 1st – October 1st


$500 and a standard publication contract with a print run of 1000.



4 thoughts on “Monica de la Torre & Switchback Books

  1. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your kind words about TALK SHOWS. Switchback has existed for about two and a half years, and Monica’s book was our first. We were so lucky to publish it. Since then we’ve published two more (Caroline Noble Whitbeck’s OUR CLASSICAL HERITAGE: A HOMING DEVICE and Peggy Munson’s PATHOGENESIS), with a fourth on the way within days (Kathleen Rooney’s ONEIROMANCE (AN EPITHALAMION).

    Thanks for spreading the good word, and excited to see the review!

  2. hey becca,

    congrats on all the good work switchback is doing! are you going to be at AWP in chicago? if so, you should stop by Achiote Press’ table and say hello 🙂


  3. We are indeed! With our hometown staff in tow. We’ll definitely stop by to say hi!

    And if you get a chance, let us know when your review is out and we’ll post about it on our blog (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s