John McPhee

My favorite college English professor, also my overall favorite, Dr. John Cooley, introduced me to the prolific nonfiction writer, John McPhee.

Feature and Article Writing, was the first writing class I thoroughly enjoyed and my grade reflected it.

“If you want to learn about structure and rhythm, read John McPhee,” he said. As luck would have it, The John McPhee Reader was on my book list for the class. (Years later, he published The Second John McPhee Reader, and yeah, I bought it.)

In March, John McPhee turned 90, and The New Yorker, where nearly all his books first appeared as long — I mean long — articles, published his latest, “Tubula Rasa, Volume Two” in the April 19 issues. It comes more than a year after “Tubula Rasa, Volume One” appeared in the magazine.

A Sense of Where You Are”, a feature about NBA great and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, was the first McPhee piece I read, followed by “Levels of the Game”, about Arthur Ashe.

The man is a machine and I’m glad John Cooley told me about him more than 30 years ago.