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Professor & Chair of English
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
Professor of English
"Because the news of the day distracts me, my work continues to be concerned with the current events that ask my writing to speak out of and about this century of ours. There, where accumulation relies both on a kind of lyricism as well as on devastation, where things and ideas stack up in expected places—a corner, a flat surface—and in unexpected ones, amidst objects and ruin, both private and public, my work finds its focus. I want writing to exist in response to the world in which it was built and to be part of that world. I am concerned with questions of voice, what is shaped by region and by landscape, by faith and faithlessness.
I'm interested, too, in the epistolary tradition, the contemporary ekphrastic, collaborations in writing, the Midwest as site and relic, as "museum of antiquated ideas" and museum of the present moment, and the shape and trajectory of 21st century American Literature, particularly in light of natural disasters and human-made catastrophes that have defined our young century. I make poems and essays, and approach my teaching and scholarship with the intention first of demonstrating my genuine curiosity and awe for the things of this world, the things in this world. I try, most of all, to teach poems and essays that are true to the simultaneous tumult and grace of this time, of every time; I try to make poems and essays—and to help my students make poems and essays—that are true to the simultaneous tumult and grace of this century, of every century."
Years at Knox: 1998 to present
M.F.A., Poetry, 2002, Vermont College.
M.A., Literature and Composition, 1998, Western Illinois University.
B.A., English Writing, 1995, Knox College.
Creative writing: poetry; creative nonfiction; fiction; modern, contemporary, and 21st century American literature.
Winner of the Crab Orchard Poetry Series Open, selected by Adrian Matejka, for Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live (forthcoming 2018 by Southern Illinois University Press).
Winner of the 2013 New Measure Poetry Prize, with Beth Marzoni, selected by Carolyn Forché, by Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, for No Shape Bends the River So Long (2015).
Winner of 2015 Heartland Poetry Prize, with Beth Marzoni, selected by Lee Ann Roripaugh, for New American Press, for "[Begin not with coastline, not with harbor or cove. Begin]."
Co-winner of 2013 ellipsis award, with Beth Marzoni, from ellipsis...literature & art, for "[Now everywhere's always a show played for easy laughs]."
Winner of the 2009 Thomas R. Hruska Memorial Nonfiction Prize from Passages North for "The Eighteenth Week."
Young Alumni Achievement Award, Knox College, 2007.
Finalist Award, Illinois Arts Council, 2005.
Philip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize for Distinguished Teaching, 2003.
Berlin, Monica. Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Forthcoming 2018.
Berlin, Monica and Beth Marzoni. No Shape Bends the River So Long. Anderson, SC: Free Verse Editions / Parlor Press, January 2015.
Berlin, Monica. Your Small Towns of Adult Sorrow & Melancholy. Los Angeles, CA: Tammy, September 2017.
Berlin, Monica. "From Maybe To Region." Kudzu House Quarterly 6.1, March 2016, online; fall 2017, print.
Berlin, Monica and Beth Marzoni. "Dear So & So." New Orleans Review, July 2013.
Berlin's poems and essays have been published or are forthcoming in many journals, including: Bennington Review, The Cincinnati Review, Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, december, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Ecotone, Grist, Hayden's Ferry Review, Hobart, The Journal, Juxtaprose, The Kenyon Review, Mantis, Midwestern Gothic, Newfound, Quiddity, New Orleans Review, Ninth Letter, Passages North, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, Salt Hill, Third Coast, TriQuarterly, Water~Stone Review, Witness, and Zone 3, among many others.
Her work has been anthologized in New Poetry from the Midwest 2017, From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women & Their Machines (Michigan State U P, 2016), The Borderlands: Explorations at the Fringe of Creative Nonfiction (U of Nebraska P, 2013), and Manthology (U of Iowa P, 2006).
Her collaborative work with Beth Marzoni has appeared in Better: Culture & Lit, Boston Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, ellipsis...Literature and Art, The Fourth River, Free Verse, Meridian, Midwestern Gothic, Permafrost, Quarterly West, TYPO, Vela, Water~Stone Review, and in New Poetry from the Midwest 2014.
Beloit College, with Beth Marzoni, Beloit, WI (November 2017)
Galesburg Public Library, NEA Big Read, Featured Poet (April 2017)
Hiram College, Hiram, OH (September 2016)
Central College, with Beth Marzoni, Pella, IA (April 2016)
Viterbo University, with Beth Marzoni, La Crosse, WI (March 2016)
Western Illinois University, The Fred Ewing Case & Lola Austin Case Writer-in-Residence, Macomb, IL (November 2015)
Free Verse Editions AWP Off-Site Reading, with Beth Marzoni, Minneapolis, MN (April 2015)
Bradley University, with Beth Marzoni, Peoria, IL (March 2015)
Caxton Club, with Beth Marzoni, Knox College, Galesburg, IL (March 2015)
Poets in the Parlor, with Beth Marzoni, Springfield, IL (March 2015)
Water~Stone Review Reading, with Beth Marzoni, St. Paul, MN (November 2014)
Vachel Lindsey Association & Quiddity Reading, with Chad Simpson, Springfield, IL (December 2013)
Stories & Beer, Champaign/Urbana, IL (March 2013)
"Dear So & So," with Beth Marzoni at The Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture (February 2013)
TriQuarterly, Chicago, IL (September 2012)
TheBook Cellar/Fifth Wednesday Journal, Chicago, IL (November 2011)
Kalamazoo Center for the Book/ Third Coast 15th Anniversary Reception (November 2010)
Campus & Community Involvement
Associate Director, The Program in Creative Writing
Chair, The Department of English
Director, The Space, writing studio and literary center, Galesburg
Project Director, A Map of Voices: The Knox Writers' House. Digital archives of audio recordings from writers across the country, 2010-2014.
Faculty Personnel Committee, 2010-2014.
Nonfiction Editor, Fifth Wednesday Journal, March 2011-November 2013
Guest Poetry Editor, Fifth Wednesday Journal, spring 2010, issue 6.
Galesburg Public Library, Board of Trustees, 2009-2015.
What Students Say
"Monica Berlin is one of the most subtly incisive writing professors I have ever encountered. Her ability to feel the problematics in her students' work and then guide them into verbalizing and understanding them is uncanny. She teaches others to hear and understand the elusive mechanics of writing. Her guidance has greatly enriched the quality of my work, my ability to understand and speak of poetry, and my faith in this form."
-Maggie Queeney, Creative Writing and Classics Major