Cover-DraftRelief Map (C&R Press, 2017)

Winner of the Summer Tide Pool Chapbook Prize

Named a “New in September” Book by Lambda Literary

Read an excerpt.

Purchase at C&R Press or Amazon.

A hybrid text situated in the terrain of the Midwest—and in the spaces where eros and storge meet—about what it means to make a life with another person and mean it.

“The poems in Relief Map explore the dynamic landscape of abiding love—that territory that is ‘forever unchartered’ and yet ‘familiar as your own face and hands.’  Bertram locates the spirit in the body and the body, the human animal, in the natural world.  The language of the poems, like the lovers who inhabit them, is ‘swashbuckling & radiant’ and leads us through, and beyond, ‘the lonesome country of the self.’”—Grace Bauer, author of The Women At The Well and Mean/Time

“That oft-traversed and never-understood terrain of the beloved, of desire.  Bertram asks us to trace our hands over the everyday and see it anew, so that we may marvel at it: ‘To light one another from within & stare dumbstruck at the glow.’  This collection, contemplative and shot through with longing, is a bright burning thing reminding us of the tenuousness and beauty inherent to intimacy.”—Katie Schmid, author of forget me / hit me / let me drink great quantities of clear, evil liquor

bertram_from-the-vanishing-of-camille-claudel_coverfrom The Vanishing of Camille Claudel (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016)

Read an excerpt.

Purchase at Seven Kitchens Press.

A hybrid text about the life and work of the controversial, yet remarkably talented, 19th-century French sculptor, who spent the last three decades of her life locked behind closed doors.

mementocoevr_1024x1024Memento Mori (Dancing Girl Press, 2014)

Listen to an excerpt.

Purchase at Dancing Girl Press.

An extended prose poem elegy, set in the geography of the Midwest, about the windfalls of desire and companionship, and the afterimage that remains when what was once good has fallen away.

“we can, with the right mix of wisdom, attention, and grace, make of our lives Erin Bertram’s quiet ‘beauty unhinged.’  The lyric meditations of this collection read like prayer, each rooted in fierce and open-hearted attention, each full of longing and ‘words to utter as a stay against the dark.’  I want to quote line after line”—Rebecca Wee, author of Uncertain Grace

wind-cover-1Where the Wind Bends Backwards (918 Studio Press, 2014)

Co-written with Ryan Collins.

Purchase at 918 Studio Press.

A collection of exquisite corpses, persona prose poems, about entropy and love, as if two cities—the Quad Cities, IL/IA, and St. Louis, MO—were writing postcards to each other.

“fused together with tone and imagery.  A sense of place, of home, is felt at once but also a sense of loneliness.”—Sarah Lilius, author of What Becomes Within and The Heart Factory

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose Your Eyes, Look at Me (Gold Wake Press, 2011)

No longer available (micro-chapbook).

Cover photograph by Kelvin Mason.




02_windfallWindfall (Lettre Sauvage, 2010)

Winner of the Lettre Sauvage Chapbook Prize

Out of print (collection of poems).

“Spring-blown & ecstatic, the avid speech of Erin Bertram’s poems awakens spirit to its core.”—Mark Irwin, contest judge


inland-sea_webInland Sea (Seven Kitchens Press, 2009)

Winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize for LGBTQ poets

Purchase at Seven Kitchens Press.

Cover photograph by Kris Sanford.

An ekphrastic crown of sonnets about unspoken affection, written after select black & white photographs from Kris Sanford’s Cropped Image series.

“filled with beautiful disconnects, startling juxtapositions of language and image, and a loping, mournful grace.”—Ruth L. Schwartz, contest judge

9780974846880The Urge to Believe Is Stronger than Belief Itself (Cherry Pie Press, 2008)

Named a “Recent and Recommended Book” by Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Read an excerpt.

Out of print.

A hybrid text about a beloved’s cancer diagnosis and everything that comes along with that—fumbling to make meaning when meaning, itself, seems perpetually in flux.

“Erin Bertram’s book demonstrates a poet at high power making use of language, form, and the material of the text to render experience in three registers—physical, psychological, metaphysical—in the manner of lived human experience.  The framework, the aesthetics, are evident, but as is true with the best expressive writing in any genre, the aesthetics disappear behind the profound experience of the text.”—Bill Scalia, Galatea Resurrects

“safety can be found in a name, gleaned from the seeming order of definition (whether from a dictionary or medical pamphlet) even when faced with the treachery of meaning.  From the opening lines of Rilke to the book’s final words, the solid actuality of language belies our frankly human experience of loss and its echo, pain.  In such a world, where we are always reaching, even our mother’s breasts bear the fragility of existence.  In such a world, ‘any change is worth noting.’”—Erin Quick, Left Bank Books

“Seen through the lens of language, relationship is stronger than illness.  Bertram’s poetry is a quiet crescendo of love and attentiveness that connects and redefines whatever it touches.”—Rebecca Ellis, series editor

tinyside44Wise Raven (Big Game Books, 2008)

Out of print (micro-chapbook).

“the power of persona is first seen as in a glass, darkly, but made all the more forceful by the shadows, and the unavoidable lightning.”—Maureen Thorson, series editor

wildkindlygreenThe Most Wild, Kindly Green (Achiote Press, 2008)

Out of print (collection of poems).

“I love the way Erin’s poem [“Beat Fast My Heart”] catapults the reader right into a disorienting, fragmentary narrative—my favorite kind—and alternates between short, halting statements and astonishing enjambments.”—Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABody of Water (Thorngate Road, 2007)

Winner of the Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award for LGBTQ poets

Out of print (crown of sonnets).

“engenders a longing none of us can ignore and all of us recognize immediately, a longing beyond the physical, even beyond articulation in any language except, perhaps, the angels.”—Jim Elledge, contest judge

Body of Water is masterfully constructed by one of the most skilled poets I have read in a long time”—Bill Scalia, Galatea Resurrects

alluviumAlluvium (Dancing Girl Press, 2007)

Read an excerpt.

Purchase at Dancing Girl Press (collection of poems).

Cover photograph by Kris Sanford.

“Bertram’s poetry is darkly sparkling, adroit, well crafted, painterly, vital and sonically rapturous”—Karyna McGlynn, New Pages

“this volume demands more than a quick reading session from its readers—this is a book that commands our attention.”—Genevieve Kaplan, Galatea Resurrects

hhlargeHere, Hunger (NeO Pepper Press, 2007)

Co-written with Sarah Lilius.

Out of print (collection of exquisite corpses).