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Matthew Kilbane

Matthew Kilbane

Educational Background

Cornell University, MA
Purdue University, MFA
Oberlin College, BA


Matthew Kilbane is the 2020-2021 Joseph F. Martino ’53 Lecturer in Undergraduate Teaching at Cornell University, where he has recently completed his PhD in English. He works at the intersection of literary and media studies, with a special focus on modern and contemporary poetry in the U.S., and the relation of literature to music.

His current book project, The Lyre Book: Modern Poetic Media, unfolds a disciplinary meeting place for literary and media studies around modern lyric poetry. The book analyzes how emergent sound technologies of the twentieth century like phonography and broadcast radio substantially transformed the material means by which lyric reproduces sound, in the process leaving an indelible mark on lyric form. By reading for the impress of these sonic media across a diverse array of literary and musical works, the book establishes electric sound as the very condition of possibility for key innovations in late modernist poetics, while also discovering in lyric an unrecognized capacity for media critique. Opening our lyric archives to such things as pop songs, radio poems, object-forms, and speech-music, The Lyre Book also supplies a framework for apprehending poetry’s dynamic transactions with ever-newer digital media today.

Matthew’s research has been supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Yale’s Beinecke Library, and Cornell’s Society for the Humanities. His essays have appeared in PMLA, Journal of Modern Literature, and Jacket2.

At Cornell and at Purdue University, where he received an MFA in poetry, Matthew has taught a variety of courses, including creative writing workshops, broad surveys of our contemporary literary moment, first-year composition courses, and more specialized investigations of sound art, poetry, and popular music. With the Cornell Prison Education Program, he also teaches literature and creative writing at Auburn and Elmira Correctional Facilities. 


  • Literatures in English


  • Twentieth-century American literature
  • Poetry and poetics
  • Global modernisms 
  • Media studies 
  • Digital humanities 
  • Critical theory
  • Music and literature 


Spring 2021


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