On Becoming an American Writer

James Alan McPherson (1943–2016), a native of Savannah, Georgia, was recently selected for induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. He won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with his second short-story collection, Elbow Room, and in 1981 he was in the inaugural group of MacArthur Fellowship recipients. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences added McPherson to its membership in 1995, and in 2000 his “Gold Coast” was included by editor John Updike in Houghton Mifflin’s Best Short Stories of the Century. McPherson was educated at Morgan State University, Morris Brown College, and Harvard Law School—after which he decided to get an MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1971). Elbow Room was preceded by the fiction collection Hue and Cry (1969) and followed by two nonfiction works, Crabcakes: A Memoir (1998) and A Region Not Home: Reflections on Exile (2000). Beginning in 1969, McPherson taught briefly at the University of California–Santa Cruz, Harvard, Morgan State, and the University of Virginia; he returned to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as a faculty member in 1981, and he was associated with that program for the rest of his life.

KAWA=FLOW

Over the past three decades, Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto has produced a deeply cohesive oeuvre of highly autonomous, stand-alone images. The same could be said of other masters of the medium, but in Yamamoto’s work the tension between the artist’s …

Masao Yamamoto’s work is exhibited and included in many public and private collections nationally and internationally including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The International Center of Photography, New York, NY; and the Sir Elton John Collection. Recent solo exhibitions include Small Things in Silence at Espacio Foto in Madrid and KAWA=FLOW at Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta.

The Uncanny Mr. Logan (on Only the Dreamer Can Change the Dream: Selected Poems 1953-1973 by John Logan & The Bridge of Change by John Logan)

Prize-Winning Novels and the Contemporary Fictional Voice (on After Freud by Mary Elsie Robertson; & Kingdoms by Barry Targan)

At the Beginning and the End of the Earth (on Basin and Range by John McPhee; Sand Rivers by Peter Matthiessen, Hugo van Lawick)

Samuel Pickering, the author of more thirty books, which span several genres, was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He taught English for forty-five years, thirty-five of them at the University of Connecticut. His most recent book is Parade’s End, published by Mercer University Press in 2018. “Reading Pickering,” a reviewer wrote in the Smithsonian decades ago, “is like taking a walk with your oldest, wittiest friend.”

Engagements with Reality (on Selected Poems by Mark Strand; Bazaar by Susan Wood; With Wanda: Town and Country Poems by Paul Zimmer; The Red Coal by Gerald Stern;& The Cheer by William Meredith)

The Inventions of Memory

You Thought So Far

Marvin Bell’s recent books include Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2013 )and Whiteout (Lodima Press, 2011), a collaboration with photographer Nathan Lyons. The selections from “If & When” in this issue continue Bell’s poetic correspondence with Christopher Merrill, earlier exchanges from which were collected in After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts (White Pine Press, 2016).

For Dulcimer & Doubled Voice