Author: Brian Doyle

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    If we ever got to be what we so want to be

    • Brian Doyle
    • 23 May 2018
    2 Comments

    'It's hard for a guy to cry endlessly and helplessly. It is. Some remote part of you shouts Man, get it together, this is totally beyond the bounds. But I couldn't stop.' Four previously unpublished poems by Portland author Brian Doyle, who died on 27 May last year.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The Storycatcher - 17 of the best of Brian Doyle

    • Brian Doyle
    • 29 May 2017
    3 Comments

    Brian Doyle was the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, the author most recently of the essay collection Grace Notes, and a long time contributor to Eureka Street. Brian died early Saturday morning 27 May 2017 following complications related to a cancerous brain tumour, at the age of 60. Here we present a collection of some of Brian's best pieces from the past 12 years.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pay fierce attention to the holy of everything

    • Brian Doyle
    • 28 May 2017
    15 Comments

    We talk about how there are all sorts of illuminated beings in every sort of context, and how some beings serve their fellows by being great listeners, and others have healing hands, and others are good at getting everyone to come to a disgruntled agreement, and how some are lucky to discover that their skill, their gift, the thing they love to do and do really well, is to pay fierce attention to the holy of everything, to notice the flourish and song of holy and the awful of bruised and broken holy, and report on this to their brothers and sisters, which is, of course, everyone.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    This intimate proximity

    • Peter Evans and Brian Doyle
    • 09 April 2017
    8 Comments

    Yes, you did follow him into the palace courtyard. You had boldly vowed to follow him to the end. Now you are there. They are torturing him within as you sit with the guards without, outside in that damned courtyard and wait by the dying fire. 'What am I doing here?' you ask yourself, uneasy and lonely in the dark glow. 'But at least I am here.'

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  • RELIGION

    All the way to Mass is Mass

    • Brian Doyle
    • 23 November 2016
    12 Comments

    All the way to Mass is Mass, says my wife. I know what she means. Walking along the wooded shore of the lake, through the halls of ash and maple trees, past the cedars and firs ... past the blackberry bushes and the burbling kindergarten and the redolent bakery and the cheerful bank tellers who wave ... is such a walk not a celebration of miracle, a witnessing of grace, a reminder that the quotidian is deeply holy in every detail did we only attend closely enough to see His mark?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Poem for Daniel Joseph Harrington

    • Brian Doyle
    • 23 October 2016
    5 Comments

    This is what I saw at a funeral, on a bright brilliant crystal spring day which the late lamented would most surely have called a great day for golf: His grandson, age smallish, dandling the deceased's favourite club on the lawn outside the church, as all the mourners stood around chatting. The boy whirled it like a baton, and balanced it on a finger, and finally leaned insouciantly on the club, exactly as his grandfather had so very many times before. It seemed very much to be a prayer, somehow.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fighting the ancient urge to kill a free fire

    • Brian Doyle
    • 11 September 2016
    5 Comments

    One time when I was about 12 my friends and I found a smouldering fire in the little woods behind our town's fire station. So we pulled it apart, and stomped it out, and threw dirt over the embers, and cleared brush away from the site, and then, dusty and sooty and inordinately proud of ourselves, we trooped into the fire station to report our feat. The fireman who met us listened carefully, and then he told us grimly that if ever we did such a thing again he would report us to the police.

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  • EDUCATION

    A cheerfulness of nuns

    • Brian Doyle
    • 05 July 2016
    10 Comments

    I heard many interesting and sad and funny stories from this wonderment of nuns, this intensity of nuns, this insistence of nuns, but the story that stays with me is the nun who talked to me about the 50, count them 50, years she spent as a kindergarten teacher, in four schools, two of them quite rural, one quite urban, and one, she said, in the furthest outskirts of the city, the place where immigrants and migrants and really poor people live, the place where the bus route ends.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    One child held my left pinky

    • Brian Doyle
    • 05 June 2016
    11 Comments

    One child held onto my left pinky everywhere we went. Never any other finger and never the right pinky but only the left pinky and never my whole hand. To this day sometimes in the morning I stare at my left pinky and suddenly I am in the playground or on the beach or in a thrumming crowd, and there is a person weighing 40 pounds holding onto my left pinky so tightly I am tacking slightly to port. My finger misses her hand this morning. It has been many years since she held my finger.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nuns in love

    • Brian Doyle
    • 30 May 2016
    7 Comments

    O, I had a sweetheart, sure I did, says a tiny stooped nun to me this morning. Long tall handsome man he was too. Did you think I signed up to be a nun before I could fall In love? No. I never met a nun yet wasn't in love before. It's good for you as a nun to have had your heart broken, seems to me, or to break someone else's heart. It's a way of the world. Better to know it so you can be tender when you see it later.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and peach pies

    • Brian Doyle
    • 03 April 2016
    5 Comments

    His mum was the kind who baked more than one pie at a time and gave the extra pies away easily and casually. All I knew about her was the pies, because my friend brought in pies for birthdays and teachers' anniversaries and raffles and such at school. My friend said she was too cheerful, a remark I didn't understand. He said she was a different person after his dad died, but who wouldn't be after your spouse died at the kitchen table and got coffee all over the business section of the newspaper?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Homeless truths from an agent against poverty

    • Brian Doyle
    • 08 March 2016
    8 Comments

    The tall man had worked for the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence for years, and long ago had lost any illusions about the overarching nobility of people who were hammered and lost and helpless against addictions, diseases, crisis and tragedy. I asked him about the most wonderful people he'd met, and he told me some amazing stories, and then I asked him about the worst, and he told me some horrifying stories, and then his face twisted and he told me about the worst of the worst.

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