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March 2008
88 pages  

6 x 9 1/4
9780822959878
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Red Sugar
Beatty, Jan
In her third collection, Beatty travels inside the body to the blood that codes us, moving beyond the language of post-confessionialism into fourth-wave feminism, challenging notions of the “romantic” “and the “brutal” and how they exist within us and between us.

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Jan Beatty is the author of three previous poetry collections: Red Sugar, Boneshaker, and Mad River, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of the Creative Achievement Award in Literature from the Heinz Foundation, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2013, among other honors. Beatty is cohost and producer of Prosody, a weekly radio program featuring the work of national writers. She is the director of the creative writing program at Carlow University.
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In her third collection, Beatty travels inside the body to the blood that codes us, moving beyond the language of post-confessionialism into fourth-wave feminism, challenging notions of the “romantic” “and the “brutal” and how they exist within us and between us.
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Red Sugar is tantalizing and forbidden, but it is no peepshow. The poems are raw, brash, and full of pluck, yet there is tenderness and honest emotion at the core. Jan Beatty reminds us that there is 'nothing / between us and death but one inch.' She takes us to the edge of being and shows us our own quick mortal souls. Yes, there's rock music and prison sex—but do not think for a moment that this book is merely licentious. Beatty casts a broad canopy over human desire, and within the scope of experience, she finds, too, that we are innocent and sublime beings. A rich, rare treat, this Red Sugar.” —D. A. Powell

“What is it about the poems in Red Sugar, Jan Beatty's astonishing third collection, that brings to mind the incomparable music of Miles Davis? 'It's just that I can't play like anybody else . . . I can't do anything like anybody else,' Davis insisted. These poems go their own sure way, making their own fierce music, charting 'the fluid stages of / empire & slavery' in the human body, yours and mine, as we rehearse our sometimes sorry but always necessary seductions. Unflinching, vulgar, yet oddly welcoming in the 'biting joy' of their American riffs, these poems touch us here, and here, and even here.” —Michael Waters

“Jan Beatty's Red Sugar is a hard rocking-book, a gorgeous sexual book, a fearless way high up and way down deep roller-coaster book of poetry such as you never have read before and will want to read over and over. It is full of strong language and full of love, and I loved and admired it to the hilt.”—Alicia Suskin Ostriker

“Having mastered the art of fury, Jan Beatty does not merely write a poem, she wrenches it into being, slaps it on the page, applies the flames of her passions, then gentles it into the sweating fleshy sweetness of childhood hungers, longings inspired by loneliness or loss, starkly erotic yearnings—all served in deliciously monstrous portions, to be savored like a long slow French, that perfect tongue of a kiss that sets the soul on throb.”—Wanda Coleman

”This electric, nerve-jangling collection revels in and sometimes rails against the glorious mess of inhabiting a body. . . often raw, and full of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, but they’re also shockingly soft and tender.”—Pittsburgh Magazine

”The boldly sexual first person narratives in ‘Red Sugar’ are absolutely riveting, artfully fleshed-out poems which generate fear for the characters’ safety.” —ForeWord Magazine

“Bold, brutal, honest . . . A fiercely inventive, intimate, and visionary book.”—Review Revue

“‘Red Sugar’ marches into the center of the gritty side of life and stays, shining stage lights on the personas who exist there, drawing them into character with clear and hard language. Beatty’s profiles of fear, exploitation, sexuality, abuse, drugs, and death give voice to complex lives full of contradicitions.”—Blog This Rock (Split This Rock Poetry Festival)

“A fearless collection. The poems seem to carve out homes inside of women’s bodies and fill them up with the words. Only the words are not comfortable at all, and that’s the draw to this book. “ —Calyx


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