Friday, February 26, 2010

John McPhee, nonfiction master, coming to the library

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge 800px_JohnMcphee.jpg

A giant in the nonfiction world will appear at the Kansas City Public Library on March 29. The Writers at Work series has scheduled an evening with Pulitzer Prize winner John McPhee.

In 1965, McPhee published a profile of Bill Bradley in The New Yorker, which continues to print his work. In fact, the magazine's current editor, David Remnick, took the writing class McPhee teaches at Princeton University.

The environment is one of McPhee's favorite subjects. He draws on "innate powers of description, lucid exposition and easy rapport with his subjects" in the words of writer Kevin Kerrane.

Writing about a dam builder, McPhee came up with this:

In the view of conservationists, there is something special about dams,

something -- as conservation problems go -- that is disproportionately

and metaphysically sinister. The outermost circle of the Devil's world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people -- and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam.

McPhee will speak at the Central Library at 6:30 p.m. A 30-minute reception precedes the talk.

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