Associate Professor of English, Dept Chair
Derek Mong came to Wabash College from Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2016 to become the Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of English. He teaches courses in creative writing, poetry, American Literature, and various all-college courses, including his Freshman Tutorial: The American Road Trip. He recently developed a survey on comics and graphic novels as well as two seminars: "Literature & Photography" and "Emily Dickinson & Lyric Theory." He advises the college’s literary magazine, the Wabash Review, and can often be spotted attending campus events with his wife and young son.
As a poet, Mong is the author of two collections from Saturnalia Books—Other Romes (2011) and The Identity Thief (2018)—and a chapbook, The Ego and the Empiricist (Two Sylvias Press, 2017). As a critic, he reviews new work for the Gettysburg Review and blogs at the Kenyon Review Online. His collaborative translations of the Russian poet Maxim Amelin—made with his wife, the translator, Anne O. Fisher—have appeared widely, receiving a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 2010. Their manuscript, The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelinwon the 2018 Cliff Becker Translation Prize and appeared with White Pine Press in the fall of 2018. His own essays and poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Crazyhorse, The Missouri Review, Poetry Daily, New England Review, Poetry Northwest, the Southern Review, and many other publications.
His research interests include the American Renaissance, Translation Studies, photography, and American poetry from the 19th-21st centuries. He wrote his dissertation on marriage in the lives and afterlives of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, focusing on such texts as Edward Weston’s photographs for an illustrated Leaves of Grass (made with Charis Wilson, his new, and soon to be ex-, wife); the poetry of same-sex weddings; Jerome Charyn’s novel The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson (2010); Joyce Carol Oates’s “EDickinsonRepliluxe” (2008); and a peculiar steampunk novella, “Walt and Emily,” where the titular characters fall in love. He has published essays on Ronald Johnson’s erasure poem, Radi os (1977), and the role of male nudity in American poems.
Before Wabash, Mong taught as the Axton Poetry Fellow at the University of Louisville, the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, with the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society, at SUNY-Albany, and with young writers workshops at Kenyon College and Denison University (his alma matter). Raised outside of Cleveland, he has lived in San Francisco, Massachusetts, and various Midwest states. He currently makes his home with his family in Crawfordsville.
Ph.D. in English Literature, Stanford University, 2016
M.A. in English Literature, Stanford University, 2012
M.F.A. in Poetry, The University of Michigan, 2006
B.A. in English Writing (Latin minor), Denison University, 2004
RECENT COURSE OFFERINGS
Freshman Tutorial: The American Road Trip
Freshman Tutorial: Enduring Question
English 101: Freshman Composition
English 110: Introduction to Creative Writing
English 180: Comics & Graphic Novels
English 212: Intermediate Poetry Writing
English 219: American Literature Before 1900
English 312: Advanced Poetry Writing
English 350: Literature & Photography
English 497: Emily Dickinson & Lyric Theory
Books and Chapbooks
The Identity Thief (poems). Ardmore, PA: Saturnalia Books, 2018.
The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelin (translations with Anne O. Fisher). Buffalo, NY: White Pine Press, 2018.
Other Romes (poems). Ardmore, PA: Saturnalia Books, 2011.
The Scrivener’s Quill (poems). Seattle, WA: Two Sylvias Press, 2017.
“We Live Our Lives through Other People’s Bodies.” Verse Daily www.versedaily.org/2018/weliveourlives.shtml (November 12, 2018).
“Dementia,” “O Brother,” “The World Kite Museum, After Hours,” and “Lightning 5.” Free Verse 29 freeversethejournal.org/issue-29-2018-derek-mong/ (October 21, 2018).
“Colloquy with St. Mary of Egypt” (20 pages). Blackbird: An Online Journal of Literature and the Arts. (spring 2017).
“Gegenschein.” Pleiades. (2017).
“‘When the Earth Flies into the Sun.” Kenyon Review. (2017).
“Old Tyme with a y.” Hawai’i Pacific Review hawaiipacificreview.org/2016/12/12/old-tyme-with-a-y/#comments (December 12, 2016).
“Letter in a Bottle for When the Seas Rise.” Poetry Northwest 11.2 (winter and spring 2017) 40– 41.
“Exhausted, Renegade Elephant.” New England Review 37.2 (2016) 97 – 98.
“Glaciers.” Crab Creek Review 29.1 (winter 2016) 68 – 69.
“Headlines and Line Breaks.” Gettysburg Review 29.2 (summer 2016) 313 – 331.
“Nude Dude Poets.” Michigan Quarterly Review 55.1 (winter 2016) 138 – 148.
“Why I’m Still Not Convinced that Meter is Physiological.” Kenyon Review Online. www.kenyonreview.org/2016/05/im-still-not-convinced-meter-physiological-reply-annie-finch/ (May 5, 2016).
“Iambic Pentameter Has Nothing to Do with Your Heart.” Kenyon Review Online. www.kenyonreview.org/2016/04/iambic-pentameter-nothing-heart/ (April 16, 2016).
“To Help My Son Live Easily: Notes on the Dead in American Poetry.” Gettysburg Review 28.4 (winter 2015) 617 – 637.
“Ten New Ways to Read Ronald Johnson’s Radi os.” The Kenyon Review 37.4 (July/August 2015) 78 – 96.
“Walt Whitman’s iPad.” Poetry Northwest. www.derekmong.com/musings/walt-whitmans-ipad-essay-at-poetry-northwest (May 8, 2015).
“‘The Prairie-Grass Dividing’: The Beer.” Kenyon Review Online. www.kenyonreview.org/2019/08/the-prairie-grass-dividing-the-beer/ (August 31, 2019).
“Why American Poets Ought to Translate More Poems.” www.kenyonreview.org/2019/05/why-american-poets-ought-to-translate-more-poems/ (May 31, 2019).
“We Wear the Mask.” Gettysburg Review 30.2 (summer 2017) 314 – 328.
Translation from Russian (with Anne O. Fisher)
“Belated Ode to Catherine the Great” and “Dawn’s Rosy Advent Reddened the East.”Cardinal Points 6 (fall 2016) 148 – 151.
“Foray into Patriotism,” “Inscription Over the Entrance to a Tbilisi Banya,” and “Wasn’t Ithe Man Who Seized.” International Poetry Review 41.1 (fall 2016) 8 – 15.
“Katabasia for St. Thomas Week.” Circumference. circumferencemag.org/?p=3377 (summer 2016).
“The Joyous Science, Part 1: The True Story of the Famous Bruce, Composed in Verse from the Accounts of Several Eyewitnesses.” The Brooklyn Rail (April 2016) 16 – 21.
“Classical Ode to V. V. Mayakovsky” and “Fire-Breathing Beast, Fumes Wreathing your Figure.” Two Lines 24 (winter 2016) 70 – 77.
“Homer’s Shredded to Quotes,” “In August the Stars Shoot Through the Night Air,” and
“Temple with an Arcade.” Atlanta Review 21.2 (spring/summer 2015) 37 – 39.
“In Memory of East Prussia,” “Aesop’s Language,” “You Take Root in Earth,” “Every Day,” “A Many-Throated, Many-Mawed, Many-Tongued Rumble.” Lunch Ticket. http://lunchticket.org/five-poems/ (December 2014).
HONORS AND AWARDS
First Prize, Wolverine Farms Broadside Competition, Fort Collins, CO (2018)
Runner Up, Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Contest, Kingston, WA (2017)
Semi-Finalist, The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual Texts, Lunch Ticket, Antioch University, Los Angeles, CA (2014)
Axton Fellow, Department of English, University of Louisville, KY (2008-2010)
First Prize, Artsmith Poetry Contest, Artsmith, Eastsound, Washington (2008)
Grand Prize, Happy Hour Poetry Awards, Alehouse, San Francisco, CA (2007)
Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow, Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Department of English, University of Wisconsin, WI (2006-2007)
Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Choice Prize (poetry), The Missouri Review, Columbia, MO (2005)
Hopwood Poetry Award and Nonfiction Award, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (2005 and 2006)
MAJORS & MINORS
- Accounting (pipeline)
- Asian Studies (minor)
- Black Studies (minor)
- Business (minor)
- Computer Science
- Education Studies (minor)
- Engineering (dual-degree)
- Environmental Studies (minor)
- Financial Economics
- Film and Digital Media (minor)
- Gender Studies (minor)
- Global Health (minor)
- Hispanic Studies
- Law (pre-professional)
- Medicine (pre-professional)
- Modern Languages
- Neuroscience (minor)
- Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
- Political Science