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2021 Gatewood Prize Announcement

photo credit: Emily Raw

Switchback Books is thrilled to announce the results of the 2021 Gatewood Prize. The winner is "i take your voice" by Marina Blitshteyn, selected by judge Joy Priest. Thank you to everyone who submitted manuscripts to this year’s contest. We are honored to read your work. Congratulations also to our finalists and semi-finalists, selected by the editors:


  • Brown Girl Chromatography, Anuradha Bhomik

  • to stir &, Nikia Chaney

  • Might Kindred, Mónica Gomery

  • Inquiries for Trauma Release, Mary Mussman

  • summonings, Raena Shirali

  • Startlers and Their Eating Habits, Alice Turski

  • Your Brother Will Be Born in the Spring, Ona Woods


  • Bucolia, Caroline Crew

  • Too Much, Gion Davis

  • Where We Were Left, Chrissy Hernandez

  • Ph of Au, Vanessa Couto Johnson

  • hormones in ALL CAPS, Min Kang

Judge Joy Priest's remarks on i take your voice:

One doesn’t read i take your voice, so much as advance meditatively through its adhesive architecture. In this innovative, cyclical poem, the speaker makes an all-consuming attempt to inhabit and engage with the voice of her mother, like a method actor immersed in a character. “i take your voice / and add it to my own. there’s no space between / what i want and how you heard it,” Blitshteyn writes, and, in doing so, brilliantly reflects back to us the coincident phenomena of our needs and our manipulation, our love and our control. The mother’s multiplicitous voice in i take your voice is the parent in our head, but it is also the pursuit of self-awareness and concession: “these are empty gestures against your will” admits the daughter-speaker, but they are also self-less gestures toward seeing oneself as perceived by a beloved.

About the Author:

Marina Blitshteyn and her family came to the U.S. as refugees in 1991. Her first full-length collection, Two Hunters, was published by Argos Books in 2019 with a CLMP Face-Out grant. Prior chapbooks include Russian for Lovers (Argos Books), Nothing Personal (Bone Bouquet Books), $kill$ (dancing girl press), and Sheet Music (Sunnyoutside Press). A chapbook of lyric essays, imagine a future, will be published by Ghost Proposal this year. She still works as an adjunct at Parsons and NYU.


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