WILSON, N.C. – Dr. James A. Clark, Elizabeth H. Jordan Chair of Southern Literature and professor of English at Barton College, was appointed 1st Vice President of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) for 2014. His leadership with SAMLA will continue in 2015 when he assumes the presidency for the professional organization.
SAMLA is an organization of teachers, scholars, and graduate students dedicated to the advancement of literary and linguistic scholarship and teaching in the modern languages, and is one of the largest regional affiliates of the Modern Language Association of America, also known as the MLA. Founded in 1928, SAMLA is headquartered at Georgia State University in Atlanta, with members located throughout the southeastern United States, around the nation, and across the globe. “South Atlantic Review,” the organization’s official journal, has been published quarterly since 1935.
“This was quite a pleasant surprise for me,” shared Dr. Clark. “I’ve been a part of SAMLA since the late 1970s, and in more recent years, the association has placed a greater focus on welcoming creative writers and smaller institutions, so I can play a sort of ‘double duty’ role in the executive committee, and am excited to make SAMLA an even more inviting place for creative writing and liberal arts colleges. I am one of the first presidents to come from a small school, and am extremely honored and happy to represent Barton College and other institutions of similar size in such a large and respected organization.”
As part of his many duties as president of SAMLA in 2015, Dr. Clark will be responsible for organizing the association’s annual fall conference, to be held in Durham. He previously served as a member-at-large on the SAMLA Executive Committee from 2006-2008.
Dr. Clark was also named dean of the School of Humanities at Barton College this fall semester. In addition to his teaching role, Dr. Clark’s administrative responsibilities include oversight of the English, Modern Languages, History and Social Sciences, and Religious Studies programs. He previously served as chair of the Department of English, Modern Languages and Religious Studies.
He has served on the Barton faculty since 1994, and, in 2003, Dr. Clark was named the Jefferson-Pilot Faculty Member of the Year. He is a member of the editorial board of the “North Carolina Literary Review” and an assistant editor of “Crucible.” A gifted and respected poet, his published books of poetry include “Dancing on Canaan’s Ruins,” and “Handiwork.” His poems, stories, and essays have also appeared in a number of literary journals.
In addition to his work as a professor and a writer, Dr. Clark is an accomplished musician. He has released two solo albums, and three albums with his folk-rock band, “The Near Myths,” the most recent of which, “…and into the flow,” came out last July. He keeps a busy schedule presenting programs of poetry and music throughout North Carolina and across the Southeast.
The son of Katherine and A.C. Clark of Cookeville, Tenn., Dr. Clark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Philosophy from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Modern Literature from the University of Denver.
Prior to his appointment at Barton College in 1994, Dr. Clark was an assistant professor and director of creative writing at the University of Georgia. He has also held teaching appointments at Auburn University, and Christian Brothers College in Memphis, Tenn.