about derek

derekDerek Mong is a poet, essayist, translator, and scholar. Next fall he will become the Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of American Literature and Creative Writing at Wabash College. From 2008 – 2010 he held the Axton Fellowship in Poetry at the University of Louisville, where he designed and coordinated “The Soul That Grows in Darkness: The Axton Festival of Film and Verse.” From 2006 – 2007 he held the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has previously taught at the University of Michigan, SUNY-Albany, Stanford University, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society, and with young writer’s workshops at Kenyon College and Denison University, his alma mater.

Last October, he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Stanford, having written on marriage in the lives and afterlives of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. His texts included Edward Weston’s illustrated edition of Leaves of Grass (1942), with captions provided by his wife, Charis Wilson; Jerome Charyn’s The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson (2010); and a steampunk novella, “Walt and Emily” (1995), in which the two poets fall in love. In one chapter he examines Whitman and Dickinson’s role in American weddings, both gay and straight.

His awards include The Missouri Review’s Editors’ Choice Prize, two Pushcart nominations, Alehouse’s Happy Hour Poetry Award, and two Hopwood Awards. His poems, translations, and prose have appeared in the Southern Review, Crazyhorse, the Kenyon Review, Poetry DailyMichigan Quarterly ReviewColorado ReviewPoetry Northwest, Two LinesCourt Green, and various other venues, including 99 Poems for the 99 Percent (2014). He reviews new poetry for the Gettysburg Review and blogs at the Kenyon Review Online. His first book, Other Romes (Saturnalia Books) appeared in 2011. His second, The Identity Thief (Saturnalia Books), will be published in 2018.

Born in Portland, Oregon, and raised outside of Cleveland, he has lived in San Francisco, Western Massachusetts, and throughout the Midwest. He and his wife, Anne O. Fisher, currently make their home in Portland, Oregon.They recently finished a collaborative translation of the selected  poems of Maxim Amelin (Russian, b. 1970), The Joyous Science. This project was awarded a 2010 NEA grant for Literary Translation. They are the parents of a young son.