Jan Beatty, poetaboutpublicationsreadingsnewspresscontacthome


Jan Beatty's sixth book, The Body Wars, was published in fall, 2020 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. In the New York Times, Naomi Shihab Nye said: Jan Beatty's new poems in "The Body Wars" shimmer with luminous connection, travel a big life and grand map of encounters. Beatty is at work on her eighth full-length book, Comets, a collection of essays about gender and censorship. She is the winner of the Red Hen Nonfiction Award for her memoir, American Bastard, forthcoming in October, 2021. A new chapbook, Skydog, will be published by Lefty Blondie Press in fall, 2021. Books include Jackknife: New and Collected Poems (2018 Paterson Prize) named by Sandra Cisneros on LitHub as her favorite book of 2019. Sponsored by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, it's a national prize for the strongest collection of poems published in 2018. Of Jackknife, poet and Poetry Center Director Maria Mazziotti Gillan said: "Jackknife is a book that secures Jan's place in American literature as one of the fiercest and bravest poets writing today." Beatty's fourth book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of ...30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post called her one of ten "advanced women poets for required reading." Beatty's work has been published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Poetry, BuzzFeed, North American Review, and Best American Poetry.

Her poem, "Shooter" was featured in a paper delivered in Paris by scholar Mary Kate Azcuy: "Jan Beatty's 'Shooter,' A Controversy For Feminist & Gender Politics." Books include Red Sugar, finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize; Boneshaker, finalist, Milton Kessler Award; and Mad River, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, all published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Of Beatty's work, Pitt Poetry Series Editor Ed Ochester said, "Nobody has a better sense of the colloquial American idiom. Nobody among her contemporaries writes better poems about urban working-class life." A limited edition chapbook, Ravage, was published by Lefty Blondie Press in 2012. Another chapbook, Ravenous, won the 1995 State Street Prize. Awards include the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, Discovery/The Nation Prize finalist, $10,000 Artist Grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation, a $15,000 Creative Achievement Award in Literature, Heinz Foundation, and two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Beatty's poetry has appeared in anthologies published by Autumn House Press, Coffee House Press, Houghton Mifflin, Oxford University Press, University of Illinois Press, Kent State University Press, Keystone Books, and the University of Iowa Press. Beatty's work has earned writing fellowships at the Santa Fe Arts Institute; the MacDowell Colony; Ragdale; the Montana Artist Refuge; Jentel, Wyoming; Ucross, Wyoming; Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming; Hedgebrook, Washington; Whooping Crane Trust, James L. Grahl Research Center; and Leighton Studios at Banff, Alberta, Canada. Beatty's essays on writing have appeared in anthologies by Autumn House Press, Creative Nonfiction, Terrapin Books, and The State University of New York Press. She has read her work widely, at venues such as the Los Angeles Times Book Festival, Sarah Lawrence College, the KGB Bar in New York City, and as a featured reader at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival and the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival.

For twenty-five years, Beatty hosted and produced Prosody, a public radio show on NPR-affiliate WYEP-FM featuring the work of national writers. She worked as a waitress, a welfare caseworker, an abortion counselor, and in maximum-security prisons for many years. She is the managing editor of MadBooks, a small press that published a series of books and chapbooks by women writers. Beatty has lectured in writing workshops across the country, and has taught at the university level for over twenty-five years at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Carlow. She directs creative writing at Carlow University where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and is Distinguished Writer in Residence of the MFA program.


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Jan Beatty has worked extensively with many private students on their poetry manuscripts. She has also worked with students one-on-one in classroom settings to develop their poetry. Over twenty of her students have had full-length books published with presses such as Four Way Books, Autumn House Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, Main Street Rag, FootHills Publishing, Tebot Bach, Arktoi Press, Bottom Dog Press, and chapbooks published with Slipstream, Parallel Press, and Finishing Line Press.

Jan Beatty has taught poetry for over twenty years at the university level - most recently at Carlow University, where she is Director of Creative Writing, runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops, and teaches in the low-residency MFA program. She has also taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Beatty has toured extensively, reading at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival and the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival, and at venues such as the Split This Rock Festival in Washington, D.C., the KGB Bar and St. Mark's Theater in New York, Elliott Bay Books in Seattle, and Cody's Bookstore in Berkeley, CA. As a guest craft lecturer, Beatty has visited universities around the country, such as Reed College, Oregon; Kent State University; Sarah Lawrence College; Columbia College, Chicago; University of Vermont; University of Nebraska; SUNY Binghamton; Florida International University; University of the Pacific; Fresno State University; and many others. Beatty's work has been featured on Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's weekly column, American Life in Poetry, and on Writer's Almanac, National Public Radio by Garrison Keillor.

Jan Beatty is the author of four full-length books of poetry, all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her new book, The Switching/Yard was published in 2013. Red Sugar (2008) was named a finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize. Boneshaker (2002) was a finalist for the Milton Kessler Award, and Mad River won the 1994 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. A chapbook, Ravage, was published by Lefty Blondie Press in 2012. Ravenous, her limited edition chapbook, won the 1995 State Street Prize. Beatty was a finalist for the Discovery/The Nation Prize in 1989. Beatty's poetry has appeared widely in journals such as Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, TriQuarterly, and Court Green, and in anthologies published by Oxford University Press, Houghton Mifflin, University of Illinois Press, University of Iowa Press, University of Wisconsin Press, Kent State University Press, and Autumn House Press. Awards include the $15,000 Creative Achievement Award in Literature from the Heinz Foundation, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For the past twenty years, Beatty has hosted and produced Prosody, a public radio show on NPR-affiliate WESA-FM featuring the work of national and international writers. Beatty has been awarded writing fellowships from residencies across the continent, including the MacDowell Colony, Santa Fe Arts Institute, Ragdale, Ucross, Leighton Studios, Banff, Alberta, Hedgebrook, Jentel, Montana Arts Refuge, and others.

Jan Beatty has served as Senior Editor for Voices from the Attic, a yearly anthology of women poets, 2007 - present, published by Carlow University Press. She is also the founder and Senior Editor of MadBooks, a small press that publishes books of poetry by women. MadBooks has published three full-length books: Willing to Lie by Lois Greenberg, Burying the Body by Christina Murdock, Steam Rising by Anita Byerly, and four chapbooks since its inception in 2008. From 2002-2012, Beatty edited Chapter & Verse, a bi-weekly feature in the Pittsburgh City Paper featuring the poetry of local writers. She has served as Judge for the 2011 Public Poetry Project through the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. She also judged the national 2010 Split This Rock Poetry Contest and the 2009 Liam Rector Book Prize. Beatty has read manuscripts as a Juror for Ragdale Artist Residency in 2006, 2007 and as a Screener for the Wick Poetry Prize through Kent State University Press, 2004. Beatty is a member of Associated Writing Programs, the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of America, and PEN Writers.

Manuscript consultation is available for full-length poetry manuscripts and chapbook manuscripts. Private poetry tutorials are also available for work with a group of individual poems.

An extensive manuscript consultation would offer an initial assessment, a reimagining and reordering of your full-length or chapbook manuscript (with poems added and deleted), extensive line editing on poems, a written response to your work including where you might consider sending it, plus suggestions for possible journal publication, and a follow-up phone consultation to discuss the new manuscript.

A private poetry tutorial would offer an initial assessment, written comments on a group of your poems (including line editing if needed), a written response to your work including suggestions for possible journal publication, plus a follow-up phone conversation to discuss your writing.

If you are interested in further details on manuscript consultation or a poetry tutorial, please contact Jan.

Jan maintains a waiting list of students in order to manage teaching, writing, and consultation work. Please contact her in advance to schedule your work together.

Testimonials from students:

Jan Beatty mentored me through the process of creating the manuscript that would become my first book. I don't know how long I would've waited to put it together if it hadn't been for Jan, who believed and convinced me that somewhere in my pile of poems were the seeds of a book. Her belief in me and in my poems was the current that energized the project. Her guidance was invaluable. She was able to quickly recognize which poems would be important to the book-most of which still needed work-and which didn't belong. She was a careful and honest editor of individual poems. I trusted her editing and criticism because her own poems spoke for her poetic sensibility; because she did not offer gratuitous praise; and because her criticism and suggestions honored and furthered the intention of the poems. She taught me how to think about organizing the book, including sections, epigraphs and title. When the manuscript was ready, she suggested publishers and contests and continued to encourage me to send it out even as I continued revising. She encouraged me every step of the way. I highly recommend Jan Beatty as a mentor to anyone beginning or engaged in the creation of a poetry manuscript.
- Lori Wilson

LORI WILSON is the author of House Where a Woman (Autumn House Press, 2009).Her poems have appeared on the Poetry Daily website and in various literary journals, including Southern Poetry Review, Georgetown Review, Kestrel, Cerise and 5 AM. She is a student in the MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation at Drew University.

In 2001, I began writing poetry, not just for myself, but with an eye to a wider audience, and I studied with several prominent poets in Pittsburgh and Southern California. It was then my extraordinary good fortune to study independently over several years with Jan Beatty, and she became, and remains, far and away, the greatest influence on my poetic life. By sharing her insights and suggestions on individual poems-and later, in the shaping of my first full-length manuscript - Jan helped me move to a range and depth of poetic expression I don't think I could have otherwise attained. In 2007, I won the Earle Birney Poetry Prize from Prism International for my poem, 'Sleepers.' In 2008, my first book of poetry, The Almost Sound of Drowning, was published by Main Street Rag. Jan deeply and sensitively understands and respects the vision of the poets she works with, and is able, in a truly remarkable way, to help them move to the next level-and the next. Jan's influence on my poetry has been transformational. I cannot thank her enough.
- Joan E. Bauer

JOAN E. BAUER is the author of The Almost Sound of Drowning, published by Main Street Rag in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Quarterly West, Poet Lore, 5AM, and Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poetry.

Her chapbook, Another Country, was published by Pudding House Press in 2008. She is the associate editor of Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami (Bayeux Arts, 2005).

Jan Beatty, poet