Matthew Kilbane

Matthew Kilbane

Assistant Professor of English

Specialties: Twentieth-Century American Literatures; Poetry and Poetics; Media Studies; Digital Humanities 

Degrees: B.A., Oberlin College; M.F.A. Purdue University; Ph.D. Cornell University


Matthew Kilbane teaches and writes about modern and contemporary poetry in the U.S., poetry and music, the history of sound technologies, and digital literary cultures. His first book project, “The Lyre Book: Modern Poetic Media,” unfolds a disciplinary meeting place for literary and media studies around modern lyric poetry. Opening our lyric archives to such things as pop songs, radio poems, closet operas, and speech-music, the book’s media theory of the lyric shows how literary scholars can look to media history to understand transformations in the social life of poetry, and how media archaeologists can read lyric forms for insight into the cultural history of technology. “The Lyre Book” was awarded the Northeast Modern Language Association’s 2021 Book Award, and has received support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Beinecke Library, and the Society for the Humanities at Cornell. 

Professor Kilbane is extending this focus on lyric poetry’s techniques and technologies in two other projects. One is an edited collection of essays exploring how social media platforms are reshaping poetry’s publics around the world. More broadly, he is eager to continue applying literary-critical perspectives to digital infrastructures as a Faculty Fellow at Notre Dame’s Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society. Meanwhile, he is also at work on a second book-length study, a history of community-based writing workshops and other marginalized institutions of verse making.

Before arriving at Notre Dame, Professor Kilbane served as the Joseph F. Martino Lecturer at Cornell, where he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Literatures in English and taught with the Cornell Prison Education Program.


Selected Publications:

“John Wheelwright, Sound Engineer,” Sonnets from the American, eds. Dora Malech and Laura T. Smith (University of Iowa Press), forthcoming.

“Merrill Moore’s Sonnetorium: Reading Writing and the Scale of Poetic Technique,” College Literature, forthcoming.

“Sounding Memory, Post45 Contemporaries (July 2021).

“A Speech-Musical Modernism: Harry Partch’s Lyric Media,”PMLA, vol. 135, no. 3 (2020): 511-529.

“Broadcasting Dialect: Sterling Brown, Norman Corwin, and Latent Remediation,” Journal of Modern Literature, Special issue on Media and Print Culture, vol. 43, no. 1 (2019): 111-131.

“An Indexical Lyric,” Jacket2, December 2016.