Friday, November 9, 2007

A Jim Doyle story

I knew James P. Doyle, Jim Doyle, as my professor at Fordham College in the Bronx, New York. This story comes from an arts advocate named Elizabeth Brouha, and it concerns Jim's post-Fordham life, when he lived in Sutton, Vermont, and taught at Lyndon State College. Jim was involved in an arts group that was funding a poet-printer's residencies in local schools, including the school that Jim and Ellen's son Joshua attended. One day Joshua came home, shouting "My poem is in the book. My poem is in the book." The book was a compilation of poems by children in the schools the poet-printer had visited. Ms. Brouha writes that Jim

was so tickled with the whole thing that he wrote a letter to Ellen Levell at the Vermont Council on the Arts about the whole experience. Ellen was going down to Washington, D.C. to plead that more money be given to National Endowment for the Arts so that the state councils could have more money for programs like these. She went before a committee and read them Joshua's poem and his father's letter. It was the greatest thing on the program. It carried the day and the Endowment did get more money.

And that's the story of Joshua's howling success.

From an untitled essay by Elizabeth Brouha in Vermonters: Oral Histories from Down Country to the Northeast Kingdom ed. Ron Strickland (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1998), 21
One of the mysteries of Jim's life is that he never — to the best of my knowledge, and I've checked, carefully — "published," as people in academia say. When Jim was getting ready to leave Fordham, he told me that he thought he was getting close to having something to say in print. But he left no critical writing aside from his dissertation (on the artist and type designer Eric Gill). So I was happy to find Jim's name in a book.

[From the book quoted above. Elizabeth Brouha sits in the center. That's Jim Doyle in the dark striped sweater.]

Other Jim Doyle posts
Department-store Shakespeare
Doyle and French
From the Doyle edition
Jim Doyle (1944–2005)
Teaching, sitting, standing

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

Jim Doyle was my professor at Lyndon State College. Reading that you too adored him and miss him doesn't surprise me on bit. He was the heartbeat of my education. I miss him. Thanks for your postings.
M. Louise White
Devoted student of Doyle

Michael Leddy said...

He was one of a kind. Thanks for writing.