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10/20/2013 3:42:00 PM

UP colleagues publish 'cousin' books
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
University of Portland colleagues Louis Masson and Brian Doyle, with their newest books.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
University of Portland colleagues Louis Masson and Brian Doyle, with their newest books.

Two longtime friends and colleagues, one an editor and one a writing professor, have published new collections of essays.

The books, The Thorny Grace of It by Brian Doyle, and Across the Quad by Louis Masson, offer perspectives from Catholics who focus on the sacramentality of the moment.

The books can be read together, each written in very different styles. 
“We both grew up Catholics, so you are looking at two Catholics who are reflecting on a life lived in a Catholic context,” Masson said. Both men refer to themselves as compulsive essayists.

Masson, emeritus distinguished professor at the University of Portland, and author of two previous collections of essays examines a life of teaching, a 40-year journey on the Northwest campus.

Doyle, author of 13 books and seven-time finalist for the Oregon Book Award, is editor for Portland Magazine, UP’s well-known and widely distributed publication.

The two men have worked together for 22 years, Doyle as editor and Masson as quarterly contributor to the magazine. After completing a doctoral dissertation on the poetry of John Clare, Masson had long focused his craft of writing on poetry. In 1986, he was asked to write a piece about the Willamette River for Portland Magazine. He surprised even himself when he turned in a 5,000-word essay.

“Essays are the writing equivalent of beers with friends,” he said. “Playful, they could go anywhere. You set out with an idea and then it veers off.”

Doyle’s and Masson’s essays share space in a magazine that prints the work of some of the West Coast’s most renown writers, Ursula Le Guin, David James Duncan, Sallie Tisdale, as well as others from father-flung regions like Welsh travel writer and historian Jan Morris.  

Masson’s book is available for purchase through Notre Dame’s Corby Publishing, www.corbypublishing.com and Doyle’s book was picked up by Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry. It can be purchases at Amazon.com or at Loyolapress.com.

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