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, Poetry As Survival
Erin M. Bertram is the author of thirteen chapbooks, including Relief Map, winner of the 2016 Summer Tide Pool Chapbook Prize, and Memento Mori, published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014. Their hybrid texts and poems have appeared in Diagram, South Dakota Review, Best New Poets, Uprooted: An Anthology on Gender and Illness, and elsewhere. They received their Ph.D. in creative writing, with a specialization in women’s & gender studies, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
A writing tutor and former college English teacher, they have led creative writing workshops and done LGBTQ advocacy work with a variety of organizations, including the Midwest Writing Center, Augustana College, and the Lincoln Zen Center.
Bertram is pursuing an M.S.Ed. in clinical mental health counseling, with a certificate in LGBT studies, at Northern Illinois University, where they serve on the Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity. They are currently at work on It’s Not a Lonely World, a hybrid text memoir about the gendered body.
It’s Not a Lonely World has been runner-up for the White Pine Press Marie Alexander Poetry Series; a semifinalist for the Subito Press Prose Book Prize; and an honorable mention for the Seneca Review Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize. An excerpt was a runner-up for the 2018 Gazing Grain Press All-Genre Chapbook Prize, about which judge Khadijah Queen writes:
Beautifully written prose chronicling the insistence of gender from within and without, but also the insistence of mind and heart, too, to make its own definitions—a defiant liminality that refuses, however fearfully or gently or defiantly, even that misnomer. The speaker in Gender-Genre makes of reality a new body of the real, one that proclaims a hard-fought beingness, despite the tired binary the larger world often aggressively insists we agree upon.
And The Vanishing of Camille Claudel, their hybrid text about the life and work of the 19th-century French sculptor, has been a finalist for the [PANK] Book Series; a semifinalist for the Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize; and an honorable mention for the Seneca Review Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize.