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Dear American Poetry,

By Jan Beatty

I see you’re publishing:
straightman/straightman/white white white how

Are you kidding me?
Best American Poetry, I’m bored to death—is anyone
alive out there?

Your sonnet is impotent,
and I
have a hard-on.

Here’s your bloody sonnet:
           cunt cunt/cunt cunt/cunt cunt/cunt cunt/cunt cunt/
           the nee/dle dick/ the nee/dle dick/ the nee-/

American poetry, tell your mother
you’ll be home late—
if anyone’s out there waiting for you to lick them good,

it’ll be a long night.
I was once fucked by an intellectual in iambic pentameter:
my hand was better, and more responsive.


your friend,
Jan Beatty

Added: Thursday, December 10, 2015  /  From "The Switching/Yard" (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Used with permission.
Jan Beatty
Photo by: Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Jan Beatty's newest book of poetry, Jackknife (2017, Pittsburgh Poetry Series), was just released from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her 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.”  Other books include Red Sugar (2008, Finalist, Paterson Prize), Boneshaker (2002), and Mad River (1994 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize), all from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her limited edition chapbooks include Ravage, published by Lefty Blondie Press in 2012, and Ravenous, winner of the 1995 State Street Prize. Beatty hosts and produces Prosody, a public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring national writers. She worked as a welfare caseworker, in maximum security prisons, and as a waitress for fifteen years. Awards include publication in Best American Poetry 2013, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, two PCA fellowships, and the $15,000 Creative Achievement Award from the Heinz Foundation. Beatty has read her work widely, at venues such as the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University and the Madwomen in the Attic Workshops, where she teaches in the MFA program. She was a featured poet at Split This Rock’s 2010 and 2016 festivals. For more information, visit Beatty’s website.

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