James Alan McPherson Archive
I am inevitably an outsider to the worlds McPherson wrote about and can only understand them as such, but for me his writing cut across race, culture, age, and geography to reach the most ignorant of audiences, and to show me what a real “masterpiece” looked like.
I first met Jim McPherson when he was twenty-five to my twenty-six. I’d read none of Jim’s work and had no idea that he’d published in the Atlantic, had studied with Alan Lebowitz, been mentored by Edward Weeks, and was finishing his first collection, Hue and Cry.
In the fall of 1987 after driving across the country to study at the University of Iowa, I found myself enrolled in James Alan McPherson’s fiction workshop, not knowing how I’d ended up there.
Eileen Pollack’s stories are smart, big-hearted, and thought-provoking. We recently caught up via email to discuss the differences between novels and short stories—and how changes in society can help novels find their audiences.