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Text arrangement in the style of a political advertisement reading 'I Hate It Here, Please Vote For Me: Essays on Rural Political Decay

Matthew Ferrence

August 2024
PB  978-1-959000-27-3
eBook 978-1-959000-28-0



I Hate It Here, Please Vote For Me

Essays on Rural Political Decay


When a progressive college professor runs for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in a deeply conservative rural district, he loses. That’s no surprise. But the story of how Ferrence loses and, more importantly, how American political narratives refuse to recognize the existence and value of nonconservative rural Americans offers insight into the political morass of our nation. 
                                                                                                                                                        In essays focused on showing goats at the county fair, planting native grasses in the front lawn, the political power of poetry, and getting wiped out in an election, Ferrence offers a counter-narrative to stereotypes of monolithic rural American voters and emphasizes the way stories told about rural America are a source for the bitter divide between Red America and Blue America.



1. Welcome to the Party                        
2. I Hate It Here, Please Vote for Me            
3. The Poetics of Politics                    
4. Migrations                            
5. The Political Grammar of the County Fair        
6. Spiritual Dangers                        
7. Violence                                
8. Crown Vetch                            
9. This Is Why We Lose                    
10. Succession                                
11. Imagination


Matthew Ferrence lives and writes at the confluence of Appalachia and the Rust Belt. With I Hate It Here, Please Vote For Me, he has completed a trilogy (of sorts) focused on rural Appalachian identity and political narrative. He teaches creative writing at Allegheny College.


"Ferrence sets out to reconcile who he has become, a progressive college professor, with where he is from, rural western Pennsylvania, conservative Appalachia bound up in our current political moment. His honest and moving essays take us through his running for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and reveal his unshakable love of home and his challenge to a pessimistic narrative of Appalachia."
—John Copenhaver, author of Hall of Mirrors

“Existing in the same context of What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia and Appalachian Reckoning as an attempt to both understand the shifted political sands of place, and to assert a theory as to why, this book is an opportunity for people to deepen their understanding of rural people and politics.” 
—Neema Avashia, author of Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place

"A direct look at the media narratives of politics. Ferrence wrestles with how he understands himself as an individual, a demographic, and then as Aristotle’s political animal. It is a fascinating look at the making of political and cultural tropes from the inside."
—Edward Karshner, author of Writing the Self: A Phenomenological Approach to Composition Theory