True Story: With Poet Jan Beatty

Friday, October 14, 2022, 7:30 pm
Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St NE
$20/$15 for members

Moderated by Sandra Beasley

"American Bastard dares and succeeds at reimagining and redefining memoir as a genre where stream of consciousness meets essay, meets magical realism, meets reportage, meets poetry to create an epic mosaic only possible through the literary genius of Jan Beatty.”   — Poet, Richard Blanco 

Jan Beatty will read from her 2021 memoir American Bastard, which won the Red Hen Nonfiction Award. Her memoir reimagines the genre in prosaic and lyrically charged language. 

Following the reading will be a moderated conversation with Sandra Beasley and a book signing with East City Books. Each patron will also receive a broadside, a handwritten poem, by Beatty. 

Sandra Beasley is the author of the poetry collections Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, which won the Barnard Women Poets Prize, Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize and most recently Made to Explode. She also published a memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life.

Enhance your experience by joining Jan Beatty for a virtual poetry workshop on October 13, 2022. 

This event is in person at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation and will be available as a recording after October 23, 2022.

Who's Who



We look forward to welcoming you to in-person performances. Please note: Attendees 5 years old and over are required to show proof of vaccination. All attendees are required to wear a mask. Fully vaccinated artists will not be wearing masks while performing. Folger staff will remain masked at all times. The Folger is committed to maintaining the highest level of health and safety precautions around COVID-19. Click here for more information on how we are keeping our audience and artists safe.


An eater, or swallowhole, is a reach of stream

By Jan Beatty

An eater, or swallowhole, is a reach of stream or a tidal area given to violent currents and waves that often upset and/or suck under boats and kayaks and the like as they are attempting passage.
— William Kittredge

The eater, my birthmother, was speaking:
I can’t tell you his name.
You have to promise me you won’t look for him.
He’s not a nice man.

Agitated, frenetic, the eater falling into her own waters.
Sobbing, almost wailing.
She said:
I’m so ashamed.
I’m sorry.
It was one night.

I was swirling into the streambed,
lost in the downstream plunge.
I said:
Can you just tell me his name?
I won’t look for him.
The eater filled with water, driving
toward the boulder’s edge.

I rocked:
into the lava break,
into the fault.

-Poetry, January 2016. 


The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series is pleased to partner with East City Bookshop, an independently run, women owned bookstore on Capitol Hill. Pickup is available at the shop, or they ship (almost) anywhere! Check their website,