It is on a threshold, at the edge, where we are most able to alter our understanding of the world and of our own lives in it.—Gregory Orr, “The Edge As Threshold”
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Erin M. Bertram is a writer, creative scholar, and author of over a dozen chapbooks and a cross-genre memoir. BODY OF WATER (2007) won the Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, RELIEF MAP (2017) won the Summer Tide Pool Chapbook Prize, and FROM THE VANISHING OF CAMILLE CLAUDEL (II) (2021) won The A3 Press Chapbook Prize. Their first book, IT’S NOT A LONELY WORLD: A MEMOIR ON THE EDGE (Trembling Pillow, 2022), received the Karen Dunning Scholarly/Creative Activity Award, selected by the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It’s Not a Lonely World has been anthologized in Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts, Uprooted: An Anthology on Gender and Illness, and TransNarratives: Scholarly and Creative Works on Transgender Experience. Bertram has been awarded fellowships and grants from Prague Summer Program for Writers, Split Rock Arts Program, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, and Augustana College’s Summer Faculty Research Grant Fund. They are the former drummer of folk-rock band Busted Chandeliers.
Bertram has worked as a writing educator, in both university and community-based settings across the Midwest, for 20 years, most recently at Northern Illinois University and WriteByNight. A published finalist in the Diagram Hybrid Essay Contest and two-time winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize, they hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and a PhD in English/Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where they were a Maude Hammond Fling Fellow and received an Award in Teaching Excellence. They also hold Specializations in Women/Gender/Sexuality Studies, and have completed graduate coursework in Counseling and continuing ed coursework in Documentary Studies. They are currently working on The Vanishing of Camille Claudel: A Biography in Voices, which has been a finalist for the [Pank] Book Series, and a pair of scholarly essays on the psychological effects of cross-genre literature. They live with their wife near the Fox River in Illinois.