Marty Cain

Humanities Scholars Program Postdoctoral Associate, Visiting Lecturer


Marty Cain is a scholar of modern and contemporary poetry, avant-gardes, and rural and regional literatures. His doctoral dissertation, Rural Avant-Garde: Mapping Contemporary U.S. Poetry Collectives Outside the Metropolis, focuses on a variety of collaborative practices from the postwar period to the present—D.I.Y. reading series and book tours, email listservs, little magazines, and small presses, among others. Relying upon extensive archival research, it foregrounds a view of poetic community interpellated through material geographies, infrastructural technologies, and the contemporary university, challenging the unspoken consensus that urban centers alone have shaped avant-garde discourses. As a recipient of a Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences grant, Cain digitized the archives of Ithaca House, an Ithaca-based small press, and as a 2018 Cornell Summer Fellow in the Digital Humanities, he completed a project mapping Lucifer Poetics, a North Carolina-based email listserv.

His peer-reviewed articles appear in ASAP/Journal and Journal of Modern Literature, and additional essays and reviews appear in Jacket2, Denver Quarterly, Boston Review and elsewhere. Cain is also the author of three books of poetry and hybrid writing, the newest of which is The Prelude (Action Books, 2023). Among other places, individual creative works appear in Fence, Poetry Daily, and Best American Experimental Writing 2020, guest eds. Joyelle McSweeney and Carmen Maria Machado (Wesleyan UP, 2021).

As an instructor, he has taught creative writing workshops, American and British literature surveys, and at Cornell, first-year writing seminars on punk music and subcultural art, memoir and the essay, rural media and culture, and Ithaca literary and countercultural histories.


Research Focus

  • Modern and Contemporary Poetry
  • Rural and Regional Literatures
  • Avant-Garde and Experimental Writing
  • Media Studies