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Marty Cain

Marty Cain

Educational Background

Cornell University, MA
University of Mississippi, MFA
Hamilton College, BA



Marty Cain studies poetry communities in the rural United States, working at the intersection of media studies, material modernisms, and rural and regional literature. His dissertation, Rural Avant-Garde: Mapping Contemporary U.S. Poetry Community Outside the Metropolis, focuses on a variety of collaborative practices from the 1970s to the present – reading series, anthologies, email listservs, and small presses – and foregrounds an avant-garde ethos interpellated through material geographies, infrastructural technologies, and the contemporary university. As a recipient of a Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences grant, Cain is digitizing 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.

Essays and reviews appear in Jacket2, Denver Quarterly, and Boston Review, and an article on avant-garde Swedish poet Aase Berg is forthcoming in ASAP/Journal. Cain is also the author of the book-length poem Kids of the Black Hole (2017) and the hybrid text The Wound Is (Not) Real: A Memoir (2020), both from Trembling Pillow Press, as well as a chapbook, Four Essays (Tammy, 2019). Among other places, individual creative works appear in Fence, Poetry Daily, and Best American Experimental Writing, guest eds. Joyelle McSweeney and Carmen Maria Machado (Wesleyan UP, 2020).

As an undergraduate 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, and rural media and culture.


  • Literatures in English


  • 20th and 21st Century U.S. Poetry
  • Rural and Regional Literatures
  • Avant-Garde and Experimental Literature
  • U.S. Modernisms
  • Media Studies


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