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March 2002
104 pages  

6 x 9
9780822957799
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Boneshaker
Beatty, Jan
Hard-hitting, sophisticated, lyrical exploration of the meaning of the body. Questions icons and invokes taboos.
Jan Beatty’s fourth full-length poetry collection, The Switching/Yard, was named one of “30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry” by Library Journal. The Huffington Post named her as one of ten women writers for “required reading.” Her other books include Red Sugar, Boneshaker, and Mad River, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Beatty is host and producer of Prosody, on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring the work of national writers. She is director of creative writing at Carlow University, where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and teaches in the MFA program.

Visit Jan Beatty’s web site
“What is the body? In Jan Beatty's courageous, beautiful, and harsh new book, Boneshaker, the body is as horrifyingly without boundaries as the cosmos, as constricted as a prison cell. Language, too, is a body. At times it is stitched up tight in the strictures of narrative "So I walked in with a hard jones/ for the magic bullet that would make life/move again--still waiting for the get-off,/ the knowing-it's-over-but-I-want-you-anyway--/At the deck, nurses white and name-plated. . . ." At other times, chopped and opened up, not even a sentence survives intact. Restless with complacency and restriction, this book riccochets among a multitude of forms, tones, subjects. Boneshaker is a fierce, intelligent, terrifying interrogation of categories, among them the category of the book itself. Nothing is beyond the reach of this splendid new work.”—Lynn Emanuel

“There is a school of poetry where the poems have content, where they communicate, where beauty is not forgotten. It is about work, family, and the lost towns. Grief. Jan is a central figure in this school.”—Gerald Stern

“This is slap in the face, wake the fuck up and smell the roses poetry. This is pay attention Bub, or you’ll be in a jam poetry; poetry written in defiance of gravity and in the face of all the forces of our own desire that want to drag us down. And underneath all of this wildness is a true love and care for craft, and the anxious, bluesy rhythm of good talk, like a river.”—Bruce Weigl

“‘Wild girl fire’ is what Jan Beatty calls it, ‘that white-hot tearing’ that ignites into art or self-destruction. Poetry against all odds. Poetry as the death-defying act. Poetry as the wild choice for a girl running reckless from the working class. Between odd jobs and odd loves, Beatty writes from the tender heart without flinching.”—Sandra Cisneros

“Language that’s often raw but honest, fresh and real (not to mention quite beautiful at times) ... Buy it.” --Pittsburgh Magazine

“Her writing style ... reflects a down-to-earth woman concerned with humanity.”— City Paper

“The book is gritty, powerful, subtly humorous and always compelling, the work of a truly skilled, compassionate and sophisticated poet.”—The Pitt News,

“ ... rife with the high stakes and rhythmic velocity of an urgent message. Even the way the poems look on the page demands that the reader listen up. These new poems are infused with a hit-the-road, rock ‘n’ roll spirit ... but on a deeper level, this rebelliousness becomes the ethos with which Beatty challenges American mores. ... her poems appeal to the heart and the ear.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Beatty writes poems that tremble and roar. . . . powerful portraits of a brutal world colored by the light of the generous spirits moving within these poems.”—Leah Souffrant, j:eaj

“Beatty asks, ‘Have you found a way / to walk around the world, have you / found a way to negotiate the pain?’ She seems to have answered that questions for herself in poems that are carefully crafter, wild, defiant, and tender.”--The Cafe Review

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In hard-hitting, sophisticated, often lyrical language, Jan Beatty investigates the idea of the body as cultural machine, shelter, mirage, or home. She rescripts the birth scene with girders and industrial pulleys; the womb as inhabited by a young girl architect. Structurally adventurous, the poems in Boneshaker question icons and invoke taboos, connect desire with place and class, walk the tightrope between sex and love.
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