Poets Aloud

Jan Beatty

Featuring Richard Blanco

“Jan Beatty writes at full throttle, a plunge into the self without flinching. These poems are highways, the finish lines smoking with ‘the truth that drags and bitters.’ Stories stripped raw. Brave, honest, death-defying, Beatty’s poetry roars.”

Sandra Cisneros, author of Woman Without Shame

Dragstripping, Jan Beatty’s seventh collection of poems, takes readers to the literal dragstrip, the metaphorical dragstrip of the body, and the strip club, where the ecstatic is rescripted and where women disappear and reappear in the crosscut of gender. Transgressing into and out of poetic form, Beatty writes the fractured landscape of the unknown woman, breaking rules of grammar and subverting expected speech, mixing the real and unreal, and finding elation in a strange and shifting land.

Jan Beatty is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently The Body Wars and Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, which won the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her memoir, American Bastard, won the Red Hen Nonfiction Prize. Beatty worked as a waitress, in abortion clinics, and in maximum security prisons. She is professor emerita at Carlow University, where she directed the MFA and creative writing programs and the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops.

Richard Blanco

Selected by President Obama as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco was the youngest, the first Latinx, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami in a working-class family, Blanco’s personal negotiation of cultural identity and the universal themes of place and belonging characterize Blanco’s many collections of poetry, including his most recent, Homeland of My Body, which reassess traditional notions of home as strictly a geographical, tangible place that merely exist outside us, but rather, within us. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood. Blanco has received numerous awards, including the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN American Beyond Margins Award, the Patterson Prize, and a Lambda Prize for memoir. He was Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary degrees. Currently, he serves as Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets and is an Associate Professor at Florida International University. In April 2022, Blanco was appointed the first-ever Poet Laureate of Miami-Dade County.


Dragstripping (pre-order) and Homeland of My Body are available from White Whale Bookstore.



Thursday, September 5, 2024 at 6 p.m.


This lecture is livestreamed and available to view on our YouTube channel for one week.
Registration may also be completed by email at info@pittsburghlectures.org or by phone at 412.622.8866.


Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213


Upcoming Lectures

Jan Beatty


Colm Toibin

SEP 16

Pico Iyer

SEP 30

Victoria Chang

OCT 24