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John Marsh

John Marsh

Acting Associate Head

Associate Professor of English

105 Ritenour Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-2627

Office Hours:

  • FALL 2015: On Sabbatical

Curriculum Vitae

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Professional Bio

John Marsh is associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of three books. The first, Hog Butchers, Beggars, and Bus Boys: Poverty, Labor, and the Making of Modern American Poetry (2011), offers a revisionary history of poetic modernism that recovers the decisive role workers and the poor played in the formation of early twentieth-century American poetry. The second, Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way out of Inequality (2011), debunks the popular belief that what causes poverty and economic inequality in the United States is lack of education and, thus, that what will fix these ills is more and better education. The third, In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself (2015), argues that the poetry of Walt Whitman can help us overcome the various sources (death, money, sex, political disgust) of our 21st century malaise. In addition, Marsh is the editor of You Work Tomorrow: An Anthology of American Labor Poetry, 1929-1941 (2007), which collects some of the thousands of remarkable but largely forgotten poems workers and labor organizers published in their union newspapers in the 1930s. The anthology won the 2007-2008 Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing from the Working-Class Studies Association. His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in American Literature, American Literary HistoryCollege English, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers and more popular venues like The Chronicle Review, Le Monde Diplomatique, Inside Higher Ed, and The Hedgehog Review. He is currently at work on a cultural history of the 1930s called The Emotional Life of the Great Depression, which tells the story of the Great Depression through its paradigmatic emotions: fear, despair, panic, shame, anger, love, and awe. In recent years, Marsh has taught undergraduate and graduate classes on modern and contemporary poetry, nineteenth-century American poetry, the 1930s, the literature of poverty, and critical theory.