Oliver Bendorf


The Spectral Wilderness. Winner of the 2013 Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. Kent State University Press, 2015.


University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

  • MA in Library and Information Studies, 2013-2015 (valedictorian)
  • MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry), 2011-2013 (summa cum laude)

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

  • BA with Honors in English Literature, 2004-2009 (cum laude)
  • Irish Writing Program (summer abroad, no degree given), Dublin, Ireland, 2008


Semester courses designed and taught at University of Wisconsin-Madison:

  • English 100: Intro Composition Seminar for Incoming Scholar-Athletes, Summer 2015
  • English 100: Intro Composition Seminar on Text & Image, Spring 2015
  • English 100: Intro Composition Seminar on Writing About Color, Fall 2014
  • English 100: Intro Composition Seminar on Comics, Infographics, & Beyond, Fall 2013
  • English 203: Introduction to Creative Writing, Fall 2011- Spring 2012

Discussion sections led at University of Wisconsin-Madison:

  • LIS 202: Information Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society, Spring 2014

Workshops designed and facilitated:

  • How to Make It: Nurturing a Creative Practice, online, 2016
  • Tin Can Telephone Poems, Bloombars, Washington, D.C., 2016.
  • Poetry-Comics Crash Course, Washington, D.C., 2016
  • How to Make it: Nurturing a Creative Practice, Allied Media Conference, Detroit, MI, 2016
  • Visual Thinking, Rare Book School, Washington, D.C., 2016
  • Watercolor Comics Workshop, Queens Center for Gay Seniors, Jackson Heights, N.Y., 2016
  • O Roy G. Biv! Writing Odes to Color, 826DC, Washington, D.C., 2016
  • Thinking Visually, Council on Library & Information Resources, Washington, D.C., 2016
  • Poetry and Comics, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, 2016
  • Writing the Body/Drawing the Body, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2015
  • Cartoon Drawing, PEOPLE Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2015
  • Gender as a Moving Image, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2014
  • Image/Ghost/Body/Text, Wick Poetry Center at Kent State, Kent, OH, 2014
  • Library Workers Zine Workshop, SLIS Laboratory Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2014

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

Vermont Studio Center full residency fellowship

Voted Outstanding Student Scholar (valedictorian) by UW SLIS faculty
Valmai Fenster Award for Exceptional Scholarly Contribution, UW School of Library & Information Studies
Nominated for English 100 Outstanding Instructor Award
Inducted into Beta Beta Epsilon, library and information studies honor society
Poetry Society of America “New American Poets” feature
Entropy Magazine “Best Poetry Book of 2014” inclusion

UW School of Library & Information Studies Coatsworth & Brynteson Student Travel Award
Sitka Center for Art and Ecology residency (declined)
Orlo/Bear Deluxe Doug Fir Fiction Award (judged by Lidia Yuknavitch)

Kent State University Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize (judged by Mark Doty)
UW-Madison Martha Meier-Renk Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Poetry

University of Virginia Press Best New Poets (judged by Matthew Dickman)
UW-Madison nomination for campus-wide Teaching Assistant award
UW-Madison David and Jean Milofsky Prize in Creative Writing

2011 and earlier
Lambda Literary Emerging LGBT Writers Fellowship in Poetry, 2010
University of Iowa Collegiate Scholarship, 2009
Holsteen Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in English, 2009
Stanley Award for International Research, 2008
Matthew Shepard Full Tuition Scholarship, 2004-2008
University of Iowa Dean’s Scholarship, 2004-2008

Professional Experience

Self-Employed, August 2016 – present

Illustration (recent clients include Library of Congress and The Writers’ Center); teaching How To Make It online, booking now for Spring 2017: Agile Writing for Archivists & Librarians.

Co-Founder, Mount Pleasant Poetry Project (February 2016—present)

Oversee design and implementation of month-long series of public programming to bring the neighborhood together through poetry. Fundraise, build and maintain website, illustration and design, writing, event coordination, community engagement, and education.

Program Associate, Digital Library Federation (DLF) at the Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC (August 2015—August 2016)

Community management for diverse group of practitioners nationwide. Develop community resource toolkits, write and edit website, design and illustration for print and web, implement diversity and inclusion practices. Manage transition of National Digital Stewardship Alliance from Library of Congress to DLF. Coordinate the annual DLF Forum conference for the digital library field. Propose and implement staff skillshare workshop series. Lead workshop on visual thinking.

Humanities Collections Assistant, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison (January 2013—May 2015)

Develop custom Tumblr blog and social media outreach for Little Magazine Collection; write regular blog posts and other strategic communications across online platforms; conduct serials check-in and update serials records; create and update research guides on humanities subject areas, including: comics/graphic novels, creative writing, digital humanities, little magazines, and Shakespeare; assist with collection development decisions, research services, and archival processing; propose, coordinate, promote, and moderate conference panel “Preserving Literary History: Archiving Milwaukee’s Woodland Pattern” (Association of Writers & Writing Programs 2015).

Faculty Associate (Summer 2015); Teaching Assistant (August 2011—May 2015), Department of English and iSchool, University of Wisconsin-Madison (August 2011—May 2015)

First Year Composition for Incoming Scholar-Athletes, Summer 2015
First Year Composition: Text & Image, Spring 2015
First Year Composition: Writing About Color, Fall 2014
Digital Divides in a Multicultural Society, Spring 2014
Visual Composition: Comics, Infographics, & Beyond, Fall 2013
Beginning Fiction & Poetry Workshop, Fall 2011 & Spring 2012

Arts and Media Programming Practicum, The Bubbler at Madison Public Library (July—December 2014)

Create written and visual communications; design and lead hands-on instruction and drop-in programming for all ages from a spectrum of cultural, economic, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds, on a range of arts and media; coordinate first annual community drawing festival, recruit guest artists and community partners; assist with art exhibition installation; maintained events calendar; research and present on best practices for participatory learning and learning through making.

Research Assistant and Editor/Designer, Dr. Jonathan Senchyne/Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, University of Wisconsin-Madison (January—July 2014)

Provide editorial assistance for clarity and style; prepare scholarly manuscripts for publication; provide scholarly research support on subjects relating to digital humanities, makerspaces, and archival education; design and produce visual marketing materials for African American Expression in Print and Digital Culture symposium.

Martha Meier-Renk Distinguished Graduate Fellow in Poetry, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison (August 2011—May 2013)

Fellowship to work toward completion of MFA thesis.

Editor-in-Chief, Devil’s Lake (August 2011—May 2013)

Recruited and managed staff and volunteers; coordinated production and events for online journal of literature and visual art; led successful fundraising campaign through first annual contests in poetry and fiction; managed finances, authored the first annual report to funders; represented the journal at local and national events.

Writing Tutor, Washington, DC (August 2010—August 2011)

Worked one-on-one with ELL graduate students in law and business to improve reading and writing literacy through mentoring with writing essays, cover letters, and other projects

Technical Writer, Computech, Inc., at the Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC (August 2009—August 2010)

Created, edited, and proofread technical documentation and web copy for new media initiatives; conveyed complex technical material in a clear and concise manner according to each project’s audience, purpose, and context; gathered information from web developers, project managers, policy makers, engineers, and other stakeholders to synthesize and distill accurate technical information; oversaw document design and proofreading to maximize readability and usability.

 Other Publications

Poems in Journals

“Paternal Function no. 1.” Southern Indiana Review, 2016.
“Come To My Window, William James” and “My Body the Haunted House.” Sycamore Review, 2015.
“Both/Both.” The Rumpus, 2015.
“Field Guide to the Spectral Wilderness” and “Boy Clit.” diode, 2015.
“Blue Boy and “Title.” Blackbird, 2014.
“The Gospel According to X [I don’t have any insider information on redemption],” Hayden’s Ferry Review, 2014.
“Columbus Water and Light,” Sonora Review “Mind and Body” issue, 2014.
“Pale Blue Dot,” The Weekly Rumpus, 2014.
“Caper in Which We Masquerade as Braver Than We Feel,” Barn Owl Review, 2014.
“Take Care,” jubilat, 2013.
“No Billboards in Vermont,” “Make Believe,” and Love and the Bodega.” Tupelo Quarterly, 2013.
“Thanks for Everything, Leland Cooper.” Crab Orchard Review “Prairies, Plains, Mountains, Deserts” issue, 2013.
“Unlikely Survivors of a Second Winter” and “Red Riding Hood is Broken, Sorry, Brain Injury.” Likewise Folio, 2013.
“Patrón.” Indiana Review, 2013.
“Extremophilia.” Mid-American Review, 2013.
“The Doctor Told Me The Shots Would Make Me Spin Silk.” Redivider, 2013.
“The Ice.” TheThePoetry, 2013.
“Appendix to a Harassment Report.” Evening Will Come, 2012.
“I Promised Her My HAnds Wouldn’t Get Any Larger.” Ninth Letter, 2012.
“Postcard from Lake Mendota.” Anti-, 2012.
“Fort Da,” “What it Means to Excel,” Starkly Starkly Little Twink,” “There Were Once More Creative Ways to Say ‘Fucking’ But I Have Forgotten Them All.” PANK, 2012.
“Prelude” and “Sight-Seeing.” The Journal, 2012.
“Insomniac.” Fugue, 2011.
“Long Distance,” “At MOMA,” and “Dog Days.” Sugar House Review, 2011.
“Call Her Vincent” and “Sommelier’s Prayer.” Quarterly West, 2011.
“Split it Open Just to Count the Pieces” and “Outing, Iowa.” Drunken Boat, 2011.

Poems in Anthologies

“Thanks for Everything, Leland Cooper.” Echolocations: Poets Map Madison. Cowfeather Press, 2013.
Seven poems in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Nightboat Books, 2013.
“Teaching Time.” LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013.
“I Promised Her My Hands Wouldn’t Get Any Larger.” Best New Poets. U.Va. Press, 2012.
“The First Erasure.” Collective Brightness: LGBTQ Poets on Faith, Religion, and Spirituality. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011.

Comics and Visual Art

“Boy Clit 2” and “Boy Clit 3.” Cream City Review Genrequeer issue, 2015.
“Metadata of a Memory.” Out of Bounds: A Celebration of Genre Defiant Work, Alaska Quarterly Review 31, 2014
“Experiment with Color in a North Woods Winter,” Hobart, 2014.
A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor, The Rumpus, 2013.
“Invitations for Librarians,” with Lauren Gottlieb-Miller, Library as Incubator, 2014.
“Serenity Prayer,” “Transferable Skills,” “Praise for this Book,” and “Cash Cow”. Fair Matter, W.W. Norton, 2013.
“Camping Essentials,” Hobart, 2013.
“Worried Tomato,” The Rumpus, 2013.


“‘in silence, for silence, out of silence’: a poet-librarian’s activism.” Poet-Librarians in the Library of Babel: Innovative Meditations on Librarianship, Library Juice Press, forthcoming Spring 2017.

“Broadcasts of betweenity: a review of Last Psalm at Sea Level by Meg Day.” Transgender Studies Quarterly 2:3, Duke University Press. Forthcoming.

“Nature” (keyword essay). Transgender Studies Quarterly 1:1 (Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a 21st Century Transgender Studies), Duke University Press.


“The Uncanny Valley.” Bear Deluxe Magazine.


I’ve written columns, essays, and articles, for Autostraddle, Buzzfeed, and Original Plumbing.


Orlando Flyers

Mobile Devices: Conveying Movement in Text, Image, and Material, Artists’ Books Collection, Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison (co-curator), 2014

Woodland Pattern Broadsides: Thirty Years of Poets Reading, Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison (curatorial assistant), 2014

Big Draw Madison, Madison Public Library (curator and coordinator), 2014

Digital Collection of Library Workers Zines, Laboratory Library at the iSchool at University of Wisconsin-Madison (co-curator), 2013

Glitter Tongue: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Love Poems (co-curator, web editor) 2012

Presentations, Lectures, and Readings

[this section grew out-of-date and I need to reorganize it; check back soon]


Association of Writers & Writing Programs, A.W. Mellon Workshop on Art + Scholarship, Devil’s Lake (advisory board member), dh+lib (editor-at-large), Lambda Literary Writing Fellows, Mount Pleasant Poetry Project (Co-Founder), Phi Beta Kappa, Sibling Rivalry Press (board member), Visual Resources Association