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John Marsh

John Marsh

Associate Professor of English

Director of Undergraduate Studies, English

318 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-4832

Office Hours:

  • SPRING 2017:
  • Monday 12:45-1:45
  • Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 - 2:30
  • and by appointment

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 History, College English, Arizona Quarterly, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers and more popular venues like The Chronicle Review, Le Monde Diplomatique, Inside Higher Ed, The Hedgehog Review, Salon, and The Utne Reader. He is currently at work on a cultural history of the 1930s called This Dark Hour: The Emotional Life of the Great Depression, which tells the story of the Great Depression through its paradigmatic emotions: despair, anger, sympathy, righteousness, panic, fear, awe, love, and, finally, hope. 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.