In monastic life, the first hour of daily prayers, Matins, roused the community to wake up. Wisely, the second hour was Lauds, which means praise—praise with that freshly-awakened consciousness. In this way, such an attitude toward the world, seen and unseen, could be absorbed before breakfast. The poems in Long After Lauds continue that tradition, though outside a community, of waking up, reflecting, and discerning what there is to praise. And how. And whom.
Long After Lauds is a sojourn that takes the reader to unexpected places. In a voice that is funny, smart, and compassionate, sometimes all at once, the book constructs an introspective retrospective of a woman charged with insatiable curiosity and accommodating doubt looking over a life marked by significant changes: ex-nun, ex-wife, grandmother, professor emerita, traveler. Over decades, she acknowledges with gratitude her own daily shaping by students, grandchildren, rhinos, a public and private history full of saints and ain’ts. Beyond her earlier community chanting Lauds, she explores its resonance with wit and wistfulness and arrives at this truth: praise over time alters the one who gives it.
Jeanine Hathaway currently enjoys Professor emerita status from Wichita State University, having taught creative writing and literature there. She was a poetry mentor in Seattle Pacific University’s MFA Program. Hathaway is the author of the autobiographical novel Motherhouse (1992), the 2001 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize-winning The Self as Constellation (2002), and a chapbook, The Ex-Nun Poems (2011).
From Slant Books | Hardcover: 9781532689284 | Paperback: 9781532689291 | eBook: 9781532689307 | 84 pp. | $ | June 2019
It has been said that the artist is one who feels everything more deeply, the beautiful as well as the terrible, and builds of those feelings shelters where others can safely and sacredly process their own. Jeanine Hathaway is such an artist, Long After Lauds is such a collection.
Hathaway...introduces us to a Catholicism never yet described in American writing: mystic, erotic, existential, a vanishing order of experience. Jeanine Hathaway is a very new exciting voice. This is a witty book about a curious passion: for God, the divine and mystical experience.
Jeanine Hathaway’s poems are earthy, grounded in the physical, playful, but also haunted by glimpses of transcendence. Weighted with history but never overawed by it, her work makes the ancient and contemporary equally real; their juxtaposition is at once gorgeous and unsettling. At the heart of her poetry is the intuition that doubt—even chronic, unsettling doubt—is the handmaiden of faith.
We are all ex-something in this world. We all choose or were chosen. With incredible wit, wry humor, and an amazing awareness of the possibilities of language, Jeanine Hathaway plops us down, body and soul, into a woman’s life rich with both the strange and the mundane. The ex-nun is a survivor. Choose her. She’ll get you through.