Brian Doyle                            November  1956   -  May 27, 2017 Brian Doyle was the long-time editor of the University of Portland's Portland Magazine, a quarterly publication that won Newsweek's Sibley Award in 2005, as the best university magazine in America.  The university awarded him an honorary doctorate during its graduation ceremony in early May.  He was the author of numerous books of essays, fiction, poems, and nonfiction, among them the novels Mink River; The Plover; and the young adult novel, Martin Marten, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award and the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing.  In 2008, he was also the recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  As a poet, Doyle was known for his prose poems, which he called "proems," and his collections include A Shimmer of Something (Liturgical Press, 2014) and the recently released, The Kind of Brave You Wanted To Be (Liturgical Press, 2016).  The inaugural issue of Presence contains one of the last interviews with Doyle before his diagnosis and treatment for a cancerous brain tumor in November 2016.  He is survived by his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Lily, and twin sons, Liam and Joseph.  The family lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

                                           Brian Doyle 

                          November  1956   -  May 27, 2017

Brian Doyle was the long-time editor of the University of Portland's Portland Magazine, a quarterly publication that won Newsweek's Sibley Award in 2005, as the best university magazine in America.  The university awarded him an honorary doctorate during its graduation ceremony in early May.  He was the author of numerous books of essays, fiction, poems, and nonfiction, among them the novels Mink River; The Plover; and the young adult novel, Martin Marten, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award and the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing.  In 2008, he was also the recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  As a poet, Doyle was known for his prose poems, which he called "proems," and his collections include A Shimmer of Something (Liturgical Press, 2014) and the recently released, The Kind of Brave You Wanted To Be (Liturgical Press, 2016).  The inaugural issue of Presence contains one of the last interviews with Doyle before his diagnosis and treatment for a cancerous brain tumor in November 2016.  He is survived by his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Lily, and twin sons, Liam and Joseph.  The family lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

 

                                            Santa Caterina

 

Here's why I believe that indeed yes, a young woman in Italy once

Conversed at length with the One Whom No Name Can Encompass

In the year 1375 or so, by our calendar, although God knows which

Calendar the One goes by.  He called her dearest daughter, you see?

That doesn't happen unless he really is a father.  That's the real deal.

There's a fury of love for your kid, a tumult of feeling for which our

Words are flimsy.  Like our words for the One.  Sometimes I pretend

Not to hear you, he said to her, But I do hear you.  Boy, I know these

Words.  Never lower your voice in crying out to me, he says--never

Stop knocking at the door.  I know this guy.  He's a dad. His children

Drive him nuts and he would die for them without hesitation.  This is

What I try to say to people when they say what's with the whole guy

On the cross thing, man, that's macabre, that's sick, you people look

At a guy dying of torture every day, you hang Him in your churches

And houses and offices, you carry a dying guy in your pocket, that's

Just weird, and I try to say he's a dad.  He volunteered.  You'd do the

Same for your kids.  Sure He grumbled about it, in the garden.  I have

Stomped down to the laundry room to snarl and throw shoes around.

But I go back upstairs because I love them more than I could explain.

They drive you nuts but yes you would die for them.  I know this guy.

 

 

 

                        Okla Elliot           May 1, 1977 - March 19, 2017 Okla Elliott was an assistant professor of English at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.  He held a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University and a certificate in legal studies from Purdue University.  His work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, Subtropics, and elsewhere, including a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015.  His books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer's Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Pope Francis: The Essential Guide (non-fiction, forthcoming).

                        Okla Elliot

          May 1, 1977 - March 19, 2017

Okla Elliott was an assistant professor of English at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.  He held a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University and a certificate in legal studies from Purdue University.  His work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, Subtropics, and elsewhere, including a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015.  His books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer's Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Pope Francis: The Essential Guide (non-fiction, forthcoming).

                                   Gail Fishman Gerwin                             May 7, 1939 – October 3, 2016                       Beth Israel Cemetery, Cedar Knolls, NJ   Gail is survived by her beloved husband of 48 years, Dr. Kenneth S. Gerwin; her daughter, Karen Gerwin, son-in-law, Michael Stoopack, and grandchildren Ben and Liv Stoopack; her daughter Kate Goldberg, son-in-law Dean Goldberg, and grandsons, Jordan and Brandon Goldberg; she is also survived by a sister, Carol Miller. A Paterson, NJ native, graduate of Eastside High, Gail received her bachelor's degree from Goucher College in 1961, where she was Phi Beta Kappa. Post-college, she was an elementary school teacher in Ridgewood, NJ, before moving on to work in the PR department at NYU Medical Center. After raising her daughters, she worked in the PR department at Sea Land, before starting her own freelance writing/editing firm, Inedit. In 1996, she earned her master's degree in creative writing from NYU, where she studied with Ann Hood and discovered her deepest passion--writing poetry. Her collection Sugar and Sand was a 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist; her second collection, Dear Kinfolk, earned a 2013 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Her most recent collection, Crowns, was published earlier this year. Her poetry, book reviews, short fiction, essays and drama appear in print and in online literary journals, as well as on stage. She was associate poetry editor of Tiferet Journal. She loved presenting workshops, giving readings, and sharing her love of poetry with audiences of all ages. She enjoyed travel, Broadway shows, and bred Cairn Terriers for many years.  However, her greatest joy came from spending time with her children and grandchildren.

                                   Gail Fishman Gerwin

                            May 7, 1939 – October 3, 2016

                      Beth Israel Cemetery, Cedar Knolls, NJ

 

Gail is survived by her beloved husband of 48 years, Dr. Kenneth S. Gerwin; her daughter, Karen Gerwin, son-in-law, Michael Stoopack, and grandchildren Ben and Liv Stoopack; her daughter Kate Goldberg, son-in-law Dean Goldberg, and grandsons, Jordan and Brandon Goldberg; she is also survived by a sister, Carol Miller. A Paterson, NJ native, graduate of Eastside High, Gail received her bachelor's degree from Goucher College in 1961, where she was Phi Beta Kappa. Post-college, she was an elementary school teacher in Ridgewood, NJ, before moving on to work in the PR department at NYU Medical Center. After raising her daughters, she worked in the PR department at Sea Land, before starting her own freelance writing/editing firm, Inedit. In 1996, she earned her master's degree in creative writing from NYU, where she studied with Ann Hood and discovered her deepest passion--writing poetry. Her collection Sugar and Sand was a 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist; her second collection, Dear Kinfolk, earned a 2013 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Her most recent collection, Crowns, was published earlier this year. Her poetry, book reviews, short fiction, essays and drama appear in print and in online literary journals, as well as on stage. She was associate poetry editor of Tiferet Journal. She loved presenting workshops, giving readings, and sharing her love of poetry with audiences of all ages. She enjoyed travel, Broadway shows, and bred Cairn Terriers for many years.  However, her greatest joy came from spending time with her children and grandchildren.

 

Strange Root

 

Among these dark ambitions,

I wander, not ready for the light

plain to see everywhere,

eager to be shared here

and with everyone.  But my soul

is a cellar dweller, a strange root

vegetable—pale and dirty—

so I'll rest under this thick soot

until the intricate shade

of the future descends

and envelopes everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are We Done Yet

When our daughter was four,

we lit Chanukah candles atop

the Lane record cabinet, our first

purchase as a married couple.

In our new home we could look

out the window at the house below.

The Todds’ Christmas tree stood

in their den, where lights of every color

led to a star on top that seemed

to descend directly from Heaven.

 

We chanted our prayers,

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu,

melekh ha’olam, allowed Karen

to hold the shamash—the kindling

candle—for her first time, hustled Katey

to the other side of the room lest she

light up her pajamas.  Our ritual complete,

we gifted them: a doll, a book, matching

jumpers, then sang songs from preschool.

 

Dinner, I told everyone, the greasy

latkes already blackened at the edges

as they sat in oil on the new gold

General Electric range.

Wait, Mommy, I have a question,

Karen said, what’s that in the window

over there?  I tell her it’s a Christmas tree.

 

Why don’t we have a Christmas tree?

Because we’re Jewish, I said.  She wanted

to know then, before eating the

brisket cut into small pieces so she

wouldn’t choke, before crunching

the latkes, now on the edge of soggy,

When will we be finished being Jewish?

See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailyrecord/obituary.aspx?n=gail-fishman-gerwin&pid=181753366&fhid=17116#sthash.UWLOSKF3.dpuf

                                                    Peter Oresick                                         Sept. 8, 1955  -  Sept. 3, 2016                       Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

                                                    Peter Oresick

                                        Sept. 8, 1955  -  Sept. 3, 2016

                      Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“A prolific poet, printer, publisher and painter of sacred and secular icons, Mr. Oresick celebrated and epitomized the unflagging work ethic that characterized so many Western Pennsylvania immigrants."   --Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“His life overflowed with faith and art, and, in fact, was a nexus of the two.”   --Jake Oresick, son and writer

Most recent collection of poems:

Oresick, Peter.  Iconoscope: New and Selected Poems (U of Pittsburgh P, 2015)

Forthcoming in Oct 2016 with Carnegie Mellon UP: 

a collection of Willa Cather’s 10 Pittsburgh Stories, edited by Peter Oresick

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2016/09/06/Obituary-Peter-Oresick-Prolific-poet-publisher-printer-painter-pittsburgh/stories/201609060035