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 a cross-genre writer and educator originally from Chicagoland. They earned an MFA in Creative Writing with a certificate in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and a PhD in Creative Writing with a specialization in Women’s & Gender Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where they were a 2017-18 Maude Hammond Fling Fellow and received an Award in Teaching Excellence. A Zen practitioner and former drummer for Busted Chandeliers, they have also completed continuing ed coursework in documentary studies and graduate coursework in counseling.
Bertram is the author of It’s Not a Lonely World (Trembling Pillow Press, forthcoming 2019), a cross-genre memoir, winner of the 2016 and 2017 Karen Dunning Creative Activity Awards. They have published thirteen chapbooks, including Relief Map (winner, 2016 Summer Tide Pool Prize) and Body of Water (winner, 2007 Frank O’Hara Award), and were a published finalist in the 2013 Diagram Hybrid Essay Contest.
Bertram has 15+ years of experience as a writing & study skills tutor and college English teacher at Wash U, UNL, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Augustana College, Northern Illinois University, and elsewhere. They have also designed programming, facilitated workshops, served on panels, and provided mentorship on creative writing, inclusive pedagogy, and support for the queer community in higher education and community settings across the Midwest.
Bertram’s current project, The Vanishing of Camille Claudel, has been a finalist for the [Pank] Book Series. Recent work appears in Fourteen Hills and is forthcoming in Transgender Narratives Anthology. They live with their wife in northern Illinois.
A selection from It’s Not a Lonely World was a finalist for the 2017 Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Contest and a runner-up for the 2018 Gazing Grain Press All-Genre Chapbook Prize, about which judge Khadijah Queen wrote:
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.