ContributorsPublishersAdvertisers

James Alan Mcpherson

Literary Hub

The Long Unpredictable Life of Art: Francine Prose on Teaching James Alan McPherson to Incarcerated Students

This spring, the second spring of the Covid-19 pandemic, I taught, under the auspices of the Bard Prison Initiative, at the Eastern Correctional Facility, a men’s maximum security prison in Napanoch, New York. The conditions for remote learning were challenging. The only screens in the Eastern school were reserved for math classes, so the humanities had to be taught on speakerphone. I couldn’t see my students, and they couldn’t see me. Also the acoustics were bad. My students could hear me, but they needed to cross the room, one by one, and speak directly into the phone in order for me to hear them.
ALABAMA STATE
Picture for The Long Unpredictable Life of Art: Francine Prose on Teaching James Alan McPherson to Incarcerated Students
bard.edu

The Long Unpredictable Life of Art: Francine Prose on Teaching James Alan McPherson to Incarcerated Students

Distinguished Writer in Residence Francine Prose remembers her dear friend James Alan McPherson through his work. Last spring, Prose taught a course through the Bard Prison Initiative under challenging pandemic conditions, in which she could only interact with her class on speakerphone. One of her texts was McPherson’s short story “Gold Coast.” Prose writes, “It was the only time that I was glad to be on speakerphone, because each time my students read aloud from ‘Gold Coast,’ I began to cry.”
Picture for The Long Unpredictable Life of Art: Francine Prose on Teaching James Alan McPherson to Incarcerated Students