Berkeley English Graduate Students

John Patrick James

John Patrick James

Professional Statement

My research focuses on the history of science and environmental thought as it manifests in the literary and cultural forms of the British eighteenth century, with a particular emphasis on poetics. I am especially interested in theories of the earth, ranging from theological discourse to the then-emergent science of geology, as well as in the notion of "environment" as conceived through aesthetics and philosophy of mind. I have written most recently on William Blake and John Clare, and am researching Phillis Wheatley as well as the Scottish locodescriptive poet James Thomson. That said, my interests range widely, vectoring into seventeenth-century natural philosophy (especially Bacon and Locke) and nineteenth-century evolutionary thought, as well as critical theory. I am also a poet, and read widely in twentieth and twenty-first century poetry. 

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

Books and Chapbooks

Winter, Glossolalia. (Image-text pamphlet.) London: Black Spring Press Group, forthcoming 2022. 

The Milk Hours. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2019. Selected by Henri Cole for the 2018 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize.

Chthonic. Missoula, MT: CutBank Books, 2015. Winner of 2014 CutBank Chapbook Prize. 



“Blake’s Debt: Artisanship and the Future of Labor.” Literature Compass 19.3-4 (2022): 1-15.  

"Soot Moth: Biston Betularia and the Victorian End of Nature." (co-written with Nathan K. Hensley.) BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History. 2018. Web. 


Poems (Selected)

"The Delusion of Being Absolute," Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Spring 2021. (Winner of 2020 Winter Poetry Contest. Republished at

"Angling" and "California Winter," The Cortland Review, Summer 2020. 

"Nin," PEN Poetry Series, December 2019. 

“Catalogue Beginning with a Line by Plato,” Western Humanities Review, 2018.

“At Assateague,” “End,” and “Le Moribond,” Missouri Review, Fall 2018.

“Metamorphoses,” Boston Review, March 2018.

“Poem for the Nation, 2016,” Poetry Northwest, Spring 2018.

“History (n.),” The Kenyon Review, Sept./Oct. 2016. (Reprinted in Best American Poetry 2017.)

“Klee’s Painting,” West Branch, Spring 2016.

English Department Classes