Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, where she teaches in the UMass Boston MFA in Creative Writing Program. She has previously taught at St. Lawrence University, Ithaca College, and Williams College. She was recently named the new director of the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival.
She is the author of the poetry collections Personal Science (Tupelo Press, 2017); a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen Press 2016); and But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen Press, 2012), chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award. Bertram’s other publications include the chapbook cutthroat glamours (Phantom Books, 2012), winner of the Phantom Books chapbook award; the artist book Grand Dessein (commissioned by Container Press), a mixed media artifact that meditates on the work and writing of the artist Paul Klee and was recently acquired by the Special Collections library at St. Lawrence University; and Tierra Fisurada, a Spanish poetry chapbook published in Argentina (Editoriales del Duende, 2002). She collaborated with the artist Laylah Ali for the exhibition booklet of her 2017 art show The Acephalous Series.
Bertram has published poetry, prose, and essays in numerous journals, her honors include a 2017 Harvard University Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Grant, a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, finalist nomination for the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Cave Canem, and others. Her essay “To find kisses pressed in books: 100 Years of Gwendolyn Brooks” was featured on the Poetry Foundation’s website in the fall of 2016, where she has previously blogged for Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog.
Bertram holds a PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from the creative writing program at the University of Utah, among degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.