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Sleeping Late cover
April 2005
Sleeping Late on Judgment Day
by Jane Mayhall

[featured in the bookclub Poetry Special]

“In some fair countenance of our love, we / were always staving off outside / attack.” Largely written as a tribute to her late husband, Leslie Katz, Jane Mayhall’s 2004 collection of poetry is fiercely emotional. The purpose of much of this work is to elegize—not only Katz, but also James Still and other writers from Mayhall’s past. But while some of the poems are intense with grief, they never descend into self-pity, maintaining a profound strength instead. Her words grasp moments in a very vivid way, whether it is seeing death for the first time in her birthplace of Louisville or finding an old subway token in her bag. Rooted in Kentucky but with a decidedly urban feel reflecting her decades in New York City, these sometimes cynical, always unwavering poems weave language, memory, love, and pain into a profound reading experience.


Blurbs from the book jacket

Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress

Publisher’s information page from Alfred A. Knopf (Random House)

Amazon.com information page

Barnes and Noble information page


Jane Mayhall
Jane Mayhall
1918-2009

Jane Mayhall’s obituary in the New York Times, which reprints her poem “The Gilded Shadow” in its entirety

Photos of Jane Mayhall from the archives of the American Poetry Review

Real Bohemians—a “Talk of the Town” item from The New Yorker about a Mayhall reading and interview

Artists Gathering in New York To Celebrate Work of Jane Mayhall, an article about a 2002 reading of her work

The Human Animal—a poem by Jane Mayhall

History of Eakins Press, founded by Leslie Katz and Jane Mayhall

Jane attended Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC, an experimental university based on the principles of John Dewey. It closed in 1956, and the facility is now a museum and arts center. But the Black Mountain College Project continues to gather material to document this unique educational experiment. The Focus on Seeing page includes quotes from Mayhall and other alumni about their experiences there.


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