James Plath

James Plath

Professor of English

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1988
M.A.,  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1982
B.A., California State University at Chico, 1980

Courses Frequently Taught:
Fine Arts 110: Film Aesthetics
Gateway 100: Sitcoms & Society
English 170: Middle Age Crazy (Carver, Beattie & Updike)
English 201: Writing Fiction
English 211: Newswriting & Reporting
English 301: Seminar in Creative Writing (fiction)
English 315: Seminar in Public Relations
English 325: Feature Writing & In-Depth Reporting
English 335: Internship in Professional Writing
English 354: Native American Literature 
English 370: Hemingway & Fitzgerald
English 480: Senior Seminar (American Magical Realism)

Illinois Wesleyan University Award for Teaching Excellence (Pantagraph Award, 2004)
Illinois College Press Association Meritorious Service Award (1999)
Fulbright Scholar, University of the West Indies, Barbados (1995)
Graduate of the Last Decade Award, UWM Alumni Association (1992)
Editor’s Award, the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses  (1990)

Selected Publications:

Everything Shapes Itself to the Sea (poetry chapbook). Georgetown, Ky.: Finishing Line Press, October 2017.

John Updike’s Pennsylvania Interviews. Bethlehem, Pa.: Lehigh Univ. Press, 2016.
Critical Insights Film: Casablanca. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2016.
Critical Insights: Raymond Carver. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2013.
Historic Photos of Ernest Hemingway (USA Book News “Best Books 2009” Award in Biography, Historical Category). Nashville: Turner Publishing Co., 2009.
Remembering Ernest Hemingway (with Frank Simons). Key West, Fla.: Ketch and Yawl Press, 1998.
Conversations with John Updike. Jackson, Miss.: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1994.
Courbet, on the Rocks (poetry chapbook). Fox River Grove, Ill.: White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 1994.

Journals and Anthologies:

— “The Widows of Eastwick: Updike’s Book of the Dead . . . or rather, Dying.” The John Updike Review 4:1 (Winter 2015): 77-84.
— “Photos and Portraits.” Hemingway in Context. Ed. Suzanne del Gizzo and Debra Moddelmog. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 65-75
— “Plattdeutsch.” City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry. Ed. Ryan Van Cleave. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press, 2012. 104-05.
— “Barking at Death: Hemingway, Africa, and the Stages of Dying.” Hemingway and Africa. Ed. Miriam B. Mandel. Melton, England: Camden House, 2011. 299-319.
— “Shaping Graces: John Updike, Middleness, and the American Experience.” Critical Insights: John Updike. Ed. Bernard F. Rodgers, Jr. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press, 2011. 49-64.
— “My Lover the Car: Ann Beattie’s ‘A Vintage Thunderbird’ and Other Vehicles.’” Short Story Criticism. Vol. 130. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Farmington, Mich.: The Gale Group, 2010. 11.
— “Jive-Ass Aficionado: Why Are We in Vietnam? and Hemingway’s Moral Code.” The Mailer Review 4:1 (Fall 2010): 194-207.
— "In an Odd Light: Kipling's Maisie and Fitzgerald's Daisy." The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review 6 (2007-08). 95-104.
— "Counternarrative: An Interview with Ann Beattie." Conversations with Ann Beattie. Ed. Dawn Trouard. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2007. 111-39.
— "21 Tweaks to a Better Tale." The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing. Ed. Meg Leder and Jack Heffron. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 2002. 228-34.
— "Hemingway, Ernest." The New Book of Knowledge. New York: Grolier Educational Press, 2001. 107.
— "Poetic Leaps & Movements." With Zarina Mullan Plath. The Writer's Handbook 2001. Ed. Sylvia K. Burack. Waukesha, Wis.: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 2001. 344-48.

Faculty Status:
Tenured, at IWU since 1988; on sabbatical spring 2017, next sabbatical 2023-2024

Professional and Personal:
Since 1988 I have taught the journalism sequence, supervised writing internships, and served as faculty advisor to the campus newspaper. I write everything — poetry, fiction, journalism, reviews, literary criticism, and creative non-fiction — and I encourage my students to do the same. In previous lives I was a feature writer for a short-lived Milwaukee newspaper, director of the Hemingway Days Writers’ Workshop & Conference in Key West, editor-publisher of the award-winning arts journal Clockwatch Review, and a member of the literature panel of the Illinois Arts Council. Now I write movie reviews and I’m a member of the Online Film Critics Society. I also remain active in Hemingway and Updike scholarship, and was elected president of The John Updike Society, which organized in May 2009 at the American Literature Association conference in Boston.  Among my numerous interests are reading, writing, movies, classic TV shows, antiques, art, gardening, home improvement,  Ping-Pong, billiards, travel, cooking, wines, fishing, Chicago sports teams and spending time with family.