Jan Beatty

Pennsylvania, United States

Member Since: 11/02/2012

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.





Website: www.janbeatty.com

Twitter Username: @janbeatty27


  • American Bastard , Red Hen Press (October 19, 2021)
  • The Body Wars , University of Pittsburgh Press (September 30, 2019)
  • Jackknife: New and Selected Poems , University of Pittsburgh Press (January 31, 2017)
  • The Switching/Yard , University of Pittsburgh Press (March 15, 2013)
  • Red Sugar , University of Pittsburgh Press (March 1, 2008)
  • Boneshaker , University of Pittsburgh Press (March 15, 2002)
  • Mad River , University of Pittsburgh Press (January 15, 1996)
  • Skydog , Lefty Blondie Press (March 30, 2022)


  • Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize(1994)
  • Pablo Neruda Prize(1990)
  • Heinz Endowment Artist Grant(2014)
  • Best American Poetry(2013)
  • Creative Achievement Award, Heinz Foundation(2000)
  • Paterson Prize(2018)
  • Red Hen Nonfiction Award(2019)


  • Director of Creative Writiing at Carlow University (August 2007 - December 2021)
  • Director at Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops (August 2004 - December 2021)
  • Host, Producer at Prosody, WESA-FM (September 1993 - May 2017)
  • MFA Director at Carlow University (January 2018 - January 2019)


  • Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from University of Pittsburgh (May 1990)
  • Bachelor of Science in Social Work from West Virginia University (May 1975)

Genres of Interest

Creative nonfiction, Poetry