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Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. Poems by Jane Mayhall

“My heart is bursting with homage as I / head off to a hostile eternity,” writes Jane Mayhall, 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From the decades-outdated subway token in the bottom of her shoulder bag, which calls forth earlier days in New York City, to the violin her father practiced among the pantry’s jam jars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 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 appeared in The Yale Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other publications. Mayhall lived in New York City until her death in 2009.

Sleeping Late on Judgment Day
Poems
By Jane Mayhall
Category: Poetry
Paperback
2005
112 Pages
$15.00
Published by Knopf
5-5/8 x 9-1/4
ISBN 9780375710483

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