Elizabeth Switaj

Photo of Elizabeth SwitajEducation

B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1999
M.F.A., New College of California, 2004


Elizabeth Kate Switaj


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Biographical Note

Elizabeth Kate Switaj's first book of poetry, Magdalene & the Mermaids, was published in 2009. She has also published chapbooks, including Shanghai (Gold Wake Press), and The Broken Sanctuary: Nature Poems (Ypolita Press), and had numerous poems appear in small press and online journals. Her short stories have appeared in Christmas in Outer Space, Expanded Horizons, Colored Chalk, The Death Mook, Ruins: Extraterrestrial, and Gratitude with Attitude. She is currently an editorial assistant for Irish Pages: A Journal of Contemporary Writing.

Elizabeth Switaj's book coverPublication Types

Non-Fiction, Fiction, Poetry

Latest Publication Title

Magdalene & the Mermaids

Publication Excerpt


No one writes
biographies of average mermaids
You know our lives
by our exceptions
tails sliced to legs
by loss of voice or cloak no-- skin

You know us-- foolish & afraid
choosing cold ocean lovelies
over warm-haired arms
keep their damp inside
at least for most of life

you think
but would not carry
these creature born with scales
that pinch skin between them
and smell of other fish
We’ve loved

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

The independence that Evergreen requires of students allowed me to develop the working habits (admittedly eccentric) which have allowed me to continue working as a poet no matter what.