One long river of song : notes on wonder

by Doyle, Brian, 1956 November 6-2017 May 27,

Format: Print Book 2019
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When Brian Doyle died of brain cancer at the age of sixty, he left behind dozens of books -- fiction and nonfiction, as well as hundreds of essays -- and a cult-like following who regarded his writing on spirituality as one of the best-kept secrets of the 21st century. Though Doyle occasionally wrote about Catholic spirituality, his writing is more broadly about the religion of everyday things. He writes with a delightful sense of wonder about the holiness of small things, and about love in all its forms: spiritual love, brotherly love, romantic love, friendly love, love of nature, and even the love of a nine-foot sturgeon.

At a time when our world feels darker than ever, Doyle's essays are a balm for the tired soul. He finds beauty in the quotidian: the awe of a child the first time she hears a river, the whiskers a grieving widow misses seeing in her sink every day -- but through his eyes, nothing is ordinary.

David James Duncan sums up Doyle's sensibilities best in his introduction to the collection: "Brian Doyle lived the pleasure of bearing daily witness to the glories hidden in people, places and creatures of little or no size or renown, and brought inimitably playful or soaring or aching or heartfelt language to his tellings." In a time when wonder seems to be in short supply, Your One Wild and Precious Life, Doyle and Duncan invite readers to experience it in the most ordinary of moments, and allow themselves joy in the smallest of things.

Joyas voladoras
A shrew
Two hearts
The deceased
Eating dirt
The anchoviad
Times tables
My devils
We did
The sea
The meteorites
First kiss
The final frontier
Jones Beach
The wonder of the look on her face
The old typewriter in the basement
The old Methodist church on Vashon Island
Mea culpa
Brian Doyle interviews Brian Doyle
Pants : a note
20 things the dog ate
The Daoine sídhe
The way we do not say what we mean when we say what we say
On not "beating" cancer
The hawk
The praying mantis moment
The greatest nature essay ever
The creature beyond the mountains
Our daily murder
Because it's hard
Irreconcilable dissonance
Lost Dog Creek
An leabharlann
The bullet
Everyone thinks that awful comes by itself, but it doesn't
The Four Gospels
Clairtonica Street
Dawn and Mary
His last game
Memorial Day
100th Street
God again
Beer with Peter
The lair
A song for nurses
Cool things
Address unknown
Hawk words
Bird to bird
To the beach
Lines hatched on the back porch of Eudora Welty's House in Jackson, Mississippi
Joey's doll's other arm
The room in the firehouse
Selections from letters and comments on my writing
Billy Blake's trial
On All Souls Day
Two anesthesiologists
A prayer for you and yours
His listening
His weirdness
The tender next minute
His holiness the Dalai Lama, manifestaion of Chenrezig, bodhisattva of compassion, stops the car along the road to watch children play soccer
Two on two
What were once pebbles are now cliffs
Last prayer.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The late Doyle called the contents of this generous, posthumous collection essays although they have the rhythm of poems and the lyricism of songs. Indeed, some of the pieces are what Doyle called proems, hybrids of prose and poetry. Regardless of form, they are uniformly brief typically one-to-three pages although a handful are longer; for example, an 11-page elegiac essay about a summer spent as a camp counselor. The subjects range widely, from Doyle's sister's silence to a random shooting, from hummingbirds to the human heart to the Catholic mass (Doyle was raised an Irish Catholic). Few essays are overtly religious, but all are infused with qualities of spirit, goodness, and grace. Doyle was a wonderful stylist, obviously in love with series and adjectives; his three children are small, quicksilver, russet, testy, touchy, tempestuous mammals. Although love, he says, is our greatest and hardest work, he is generous, almost profligate in filling his work with it, especially when it is targeted at his children, who are small miracles because he and his wife were told that they couldn't have children but proved the doctor wrong. The book concludes with a piece called A Last Prayer appropriately one of gratitude, for readers will be equally grateful for this lovely book and its beautiful contents.--Michael Cart Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The life and work of Doyle (A Book of Uncommon Prayer), the late writer and long-serving editor of Portland Magazine, are honored with this fine collection of his essays. Longtime friend and writer David James Duncan (The Brothers K) begins with an intimate introduction that situates Doyle as a literary cult figure: not popularly known, but passionately admired by some for his distinctive punctuation-defying verbal flow and his everyday epiphanies. Doyle, who died of brain cancer in 2017, trained his perceptive eye on a wide range of subjects during his career, but frequently wrote on wildlife (such as hummingbirds and sturgeon), the nature of family, and the relationship between creativity and spirituality. Doyle's curiosity is insatiable ("you see an owl launch at dusk, like a burly gray dream against the last light, you flinch a little, and are awed...") and his self-described Celtic-mystic disposition spots the transcendent regularly ("Time stutters and reverses and it is always yesterday and today"). As much haunted by the language of James Joyce as the lessons of Jesus, Doyle sees and celebrates what happens every day in each essay of this eclectic collection. This "best-of" should enlarge his circle of admirers. (Dec.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Essays.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Essays.
1 long river of song
Contributors Duncan, David James, writer of foreword.
Language English
Notes Essays.
Description xix, 251 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9780316492898
Other Classic View