top of page
Backwords Press

The Press


BACKWORDS Press aims to increase the exposure of poetry & prose by taking it off the page and printing it on the backs of t-shirts. Medium changes the conversation. BACKWORDS Press encourages the belief that art should be valued, supported, and experienced in a life well lived. To foster a creative economy that thrives, people should support poets and writers in a conscientious way while also possessing a material object (distinct from a book or traditional journal) that can have a life of its own. This is writing you wear.

The Blog


BACKWORDS Press' blog explores the intersection between presence and history. The blog is a platform that honors the moment of encounter that any one person experiences—with art, literature, music, performance, or place. Often, reflections fit multiple categories—the opposite of a news program or style blog, BACKWORDS is not preoccupied with immediacy. An event does not need to be current to be relevant, nor does a memory need to be close to its origins to hold its potency.





Stay Tuned! Submissions Re-open Soon!


Previously unpublished poetry or prose | 300 characters | Winners get prize $, two shirts, and a portion of all sales | For full guidelines and to submit go here. Thank you to all who submitted to our Fall 2016 Issue! Check back soon for our winners and for future Issue details.


Made in Portland, Oregon


BACKWORDS Press is located in Portland, Oregon. Every shirt and tote is screen printed by hand, so each poem is uniquely cared for. This isn't a factory assembly line. Throughout the whole process – from submissions to reading and selecting, to working with writers, to collaborating with designers, to the tactile work in the printing studio – we do this for the love of poetry. Thought, time, and detail is present in each and every piece shared.


Phillip Trey Coates is a Portland transplant, by way of Idaho, after completing his Bachelor's in English at Idaho State University. In his free time, when not traveling, he works as a curator for BACKWORDS Press. You'll see him on the blog as Phillip Trey, because he thinks that's cooler for some reason – like a pen name no one asked him to create. For money, he works in marketing and freelance editing. Everything he loves most he's allergic to: ie cats, dogs, and people.

Jenny M Chu grew up in Oregon and received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Her creative work has been featured in The Ignatian, The Molotov Cocktail, VoiceCatcher, and MReview. Her current preoccupations can be found under the blog tab. Words to live by: it’s impossible to know everything about everything, but you still have to try. In work, she’s focused on several equity projects, collaborations, and conversations. In art, she seeks the possibility of a horizon and a clockless day. In life, this is it, and she’s going for it.

Matthew D Kulisch is a graduate of the MFA in Writing program at University of San Francisco and holds an English BA from University of Utah. Matty has published poetry with Switchback, the online literary journal at USF, as well as with Enormous Rooms, a Salt Lake City zine. His photography has been published online and in-print with Spit & Spirit, Gorgeous Freaks, and in Hypnopompia III (a Brooklyn-based magazine). While the press was initially his idea, he credits his collaborators more—and admits he’s something more of an idealist rather than a doer. He’s a lover and a nerd. Matty lives with his cat, Benedict, in Los Angeles, CA.


Blog Contributors

Ginger Duncan

Ginger Duncan is a writer of poetry, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction. A native Oregonian, she lives and works in Portland, but always has her eye out for a new adventure.

bottom of page