Derek Mong is a poet, essayist, translator, and scholar. In 2016 he became the Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of English 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.
In October 2015, 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. He holds an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan, where he received a Cornwell Fellowship and two Hopwood Awards. He was the Dunbar Scholar in the Humanities at Denison.
His awards include The Missouri Review’s Editors’ Choice Prize, five Pushcart nominations, Alehouse’s Happy Hour Poetry Award, and the Cliff Becker Translation Prize (with his wife and co-translator, Anne O. Fisher). His poems, translations, and prose have appeared in the Southern Review, Crazyhorse, the Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, Michigan Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, Two Lines, Court Green, and various other venues, including 99 Poems for the 99 Percent (2014) and Writers Resist: Hoosier Writers Unite (2017). 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. A chapbook of his Latin adaptations, The Ego and the Empiricist (2017) was a finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize. In the fall of 2018, he and his wife, Anne O. Fisher, will publish The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelin, a collaborative translation from the Russian. This project was supported by an NEA grant for Translation.
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 Crawfordsville, Indiana. They are the parents of a young son.