Rural Poetics

Popular and academic discourse alike tend to dismiss the rural as homogenous and backwards, peripheral to any and all culture. Against this reductionism, Rural Poetics is a podcast series with two aims: 1) to explore the vibrant past and present of small press publishing projects local to Tompkins County, and 2) to understand the ways that rural and small-town geographies shape literary production. 

Through interviews and readings with working poets from across the rural United States—as well as individuals involved in the rich small press histories of our own region—Rural Poetics explores the strategies through which rural and “outsider” publishing endeavors have survived to build sustainable literary communities. Our guests are artists whose creative endeavors are deeply informed by specific geographies, and together, we consider the affordances of geographic specificity—the “regional”—as a counterpoint to capitalist dislocation, to the pervasive placelessness that condones colonialist violence and extraction.

Listen to Rural Poetics episodes:

  1. Rural Poetics: Part 1 with Nikki Wallschlaeger
    In this episode, author Nikki Wallschlaeger reads 11 poems from her latest published collection of poetry-- Waterbaby (2021, Copper Canyon Press). Nikki also speaks with Rural Poetics host Marty Cain, to contextualize her work, sharing stories insights into her writing process and geographic inspirations.

historical drawing of a person on a bridge over a gorge and waterfall in Ithaca, NY



  • Marty Cain, poet and doctoral candidate in literatures in English, Cornell University
  • Alec Pollak, doctoral candidate in literatures in English, Cornell University