Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Patricia Ann McNair


Patricia Ann McNair is the author of The Temple of Air, and will be reading from this debut collection of short stories at the upcoming Writer’s Voice reading this Thursday, March 28th at 7:30 p.m. in Colusa 110 of the California State University, Chico campus.


Audrey Niffenegger describes The Temple of Air as “a beautiful book, intense and original.” McNair’s fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in various anthologies, literary journals, and magazines, including American Fiction: Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers and Superstition Review among many others. Patricia McNair’s honors include four Illinois Arts Council awards, Pushcart Prize nominations in both fiction and nonfiction, a Writer’s Grant and residency at the Vermont Studio Center, a residency at the Glen Arbor Arts Association, and a Writer-in-Residence position at Interlochen Arts Academy. She is an Associate Professor in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago.

For those of you who haven’t yet read this marvelous collection, you will be quickly swept away by the unapologetic, blue-collar portraits of each character, compelling you to feel as if you live among them or as one of them. These stories remind us of the smells we wish to forget in her story “When is a Door not a Door”:

“I sat down on the couch next to Emily, scooted over as close as she would allow me to. Close enough that I could smell her, something like cooked carrots and baby powder and sweaty armpits” (52).

Or perhaps these stories remind us of the tastes we wish to never forget like biting into a big, red, shiny backyard tomato in her story “The Things That’ll Keep You Alive”:

“…he selected another from the case and wiped it against his sleeve like he was polishing an apple and bit from it in just the same way. Juice and seeds ran down his chin. He smiled through the scarlet and talked through the pulp” (125).

Patricia McNair’s writing is buoyant and beautiful. Reading and relishing it is like a gentle breeze. But don’t let the title fool you; these stories are about people, each of whom are at the heart of their own storm—a whirlwind of human weakness, tragedy, and rebirth.  Prepare to be windswept by this unforgettable collection. I hope you will join me in welcoming Patricia Ann McNair at the upcoming Writer’s Voice reading.

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Martha Collins

The editors at Watershed Review are proud to announce that poet Martha Collins will be reading at the local 1078 Gallery (located at 820 Broadway Street in Chico, CA) as part of the Writer’s Voice Series. Please join us in welcoming Mrs. Collins this Thursday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Martha Collins was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1940. She earned a B.A. at Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bunting Institute, as well as three Pushcart Prize honors, a Witter Bynner Grant for translation, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Grant. Collins established the creative writing program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and currently holds the Pauline Delaney Chair in Creative Writing at Oberlin College. From the personal bio at http://marthacollinspoet.com/:

Martha Collins is the author of White Papers (Pitt Poetry Series, 2012), as well as Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006), a book-length poem based on a lynching her father witnessed when he was five years old. Collins has also published four earlier collections of poems, two books of co-translations from the Vietnamese, and two chapbooks. 

Blue Front won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was chosen as one of “25 Books to Remember from 2006” by the New York Public Library. Collins’ other awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Witter Bynner Foundation, as well as three Pushcart Prizes, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Lannan residency grant, and the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize. 

Collins founded the Creative Writing Program at UMass-Boston, and for ten years was Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press. In spring 2010, she served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University.

Two books are forthcoming from Milkweed: Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (co-translated with the author, 2013) and Day Unto Day (poems, 2014).

Martha Collins at Poets.org