Sleeping Late on Judgment Day: Poems

Sleeping Late on Judgment Day: Poems

by Jane Mayhall
     
 

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"My heart is bursting with homage as I / head off to a hostile eternity," writes Jane Mayhall, now eighty-five, who wrote most of these poems in an urgent outpouring over the last few years. From the decades-outdated subway token in the bottom of her shoulder bag, which calls forth earlier days in New York City, to the violin her father practiced among the pantry's…  See more details below

Overview

"My heart is bursting with homage as I / head off to a hostile eternity," writes Jane Mayhall, now eighty-five, who wrote most of these poems in an urgent outpouring over the last few years. From the decades-outdated subway token in the bottom of her shoulder bag, which calls forth earlier days in New York City, to the violin her father practiced among the pantry's jam jars in her Kentucky childhood, Mayhall plucks small treasures that bespeak her fierce devotion to life, with its clutter of memories and imperfections. In her tightly knotted, beautifully turned short poems, she elegizes a world not quite gone, and brings us into contact with some of her contemporaries, from Lincoln Kirstein to Theodore Roethke.

Chief among her cherished memories is her long bohemian marriage, which she recalls in a series of ravishing love poems to her late husband. In lines saturated with feeling she describes how she accommodates her grief at losing him and, as throughout this exquisite volume, how we must continue to greet life, in all its gorgeous strangeness.

Jane Mayhall was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1918 and attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina. She has taught at the New School for Social Research, Hofstra University, Morehead State University, and the Summer Writers' Workshop at Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky. Her fiction and poems have appeared in The Yale Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other publications.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
The title of Jane Mayhall's book suggests a confident yet anxious insouciance, reflecting, perhaps, the fact that this is the 85-year-old author's first full-length collection of poems. As an active member of the 1950's bohemian scene in New York City (her husband, Leslie Katz, published the work of the photographer Walker Evans and others in his fabled Eakins Press), Mayhall absorbed the American modernist school's values of iconoclastic formal experimentation, psychological self-exploration and a belief that making art represents a spiritual practice of the highest order. — Andy Brumer
The Washington Post
I've been deeply moved by the love poems -- urgent, ravishing, grief-stricken -- in Jane Mayhall's exceptional new book, Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. These 38 poems, which constitute the second section of Mayhall's collection, celebrate her long bohemian marriage ("the bond of mystery") to Leslie George Katz, who died in 1997. They seem poured out in a torrent, in a sudden rush of memories. At 85, Mayhall has broken through a wall of silence and transformed the oceanic depths of feeling into the faithful nuances of art. — Edward Hirsch
Publishers Weekly
Fans of Virginia Hamilton Adair and Ruth Stone will find the poems of Jane Mayhall, making her book debut at 85, "tough in the unwatered heat./ An old-age brownish glare not wiped/ out, the inner resplendent." While some may balk at a "Ballad of Playing Tennis with Theodore Roethke at Yaddo" or considering "[Lincoln] Kirstein's Table," two of the more name-droppy poems in Sleeping Late on Judgment Day, Mayhall has insights for all tastes and moods, "cordial, volatile." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400041749
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/03/2004
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.38(h) x 0.72(d)

Meet the Author

Jane Mayhall was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1918 and attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina. She has taught at the New School for Social Research, Hofstra University, Morehead State University, and the Summer Writers’ Workshop at Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky. Her fiction and poems have appeared in The Yale Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other publications.

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