Jan Beatty writes sexually explicit poems. At least that's what I've been lead to believe. I haven't read any of them but I like her already. Poetic erotica is not my normal read, but I am impressed with anyone who is good at it, and by that I don't mean just writing poetry filled with the seven words that we are not supposed to say on the airwaves. To be good at writing erotic poetry I believe one must be able to deal with the intricate nuances of our sensory perceptions. It's like a painter capturing the shading and texture not just the shape. I don't try such poetry often myself because I don't do it well, though I wish I could. I think anyone that can do this well can likely do any subject justice on the page.
What I like about Jan Beatty is her spunk. Joseph-Beth Booksellers turned Beatty away from a reading because her latest book was too erotic for their family-friendly store atmosphere. On the surface I could accept that, but this is a store who has featured porno-film actors at events.
Beatty has appeared at the store to read from her work before but they believed there were poems from her new poetry collection, "Red Sugar" that were too hot to handle.
Alternatively, the store later agreed to allow Beatty a reading if the store chose the poems for her to read. Censorship? No way! The poet would have nothing to do with it. Then the store offered two other suggestions. A book signing without a reading or a reading with the sound system turned off. For Jan Beatty none of these suggestions is an option. She believes she is behave in a professional enough to be able to select what she reads without being told.
I have to give Jan Beatty kudos for her decision and sticking by it. I may have to even check out her work and see if writing is deserving of kudos too.