by brian doyle…

It’s all about mercy. That’s what it is all about under and through. Grace under duress. Attentiveness to suffering and the subsequent reaching out of hands to provide and purvey whatever help one can offer. Mercy.”



It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of friend Brian Doyle’s passing the morning of May 27, 2017.

Brian’s humor and enormous spirit graced Smokebox often, with his first essay appearing at the original site in February 2002. His most recent gift — “A Note On The Divinity of Bobby Murcer,” the final contribution received before his diagnosis last November — was published in the inaugural issue at the relocated WordPress site published May 2017. In between these milestones was a treasure-chest full of deft tales, essays, train-of-thought outbursts, interviews (fake and otherwise), internal monologues and a scattershot swarm of captured observations, prayers and guffaws.

In addition to this deep well of infectious inspirations, into which you should by all means dive, Doyle was part moonbeam; part riverbend smile; a run-on collective of disembodied pokes and giggles delivered in flurries of two-fingered email missives; the muse of a crow; and ultimately a beacon of courage and grace to the multitudes fortunate to swim with his words and presence. We’ve been moved by this presence, grateful for his fountain of stories, and we will miss Brian’s laughter, passion and fearless optimism.


If you are interested in a very concrete way to assist Brian’s family please consider the charitable action below. This information comes directly from the GoFundMe site:

We long to give Brian Doyle peace of mind by retiring the mortgage on his family’s home. Brian has long sustained us through incandescent stories, blessings, poems, and prayers that jolt the spirit alive, book by book. Faced with the prospect that Brian will not be here to support his family, we want to pay off the mortgage to sustain Mary and their children.

With love and gratitude from Doyle family friends,
Tom Booth, David James Duncan, Laurie Kelley, Melissa Madenski, Hob Osterlund and Kim Stafford



Brian Doyle in Smokebox

Oregon Art Beat Profile of Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle on Live Wire!





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