[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