Jane Satterfield’s six books of poetry include The Badass Brontës (a Diode Editions winner, 2023) and Apocalypse Mix (2017, Autumn House Poetry Prize). She is also the author of Her Familiars (Elixir Press, 2013), Assignation at Vanishing Point (Elixir Press Book Award, 2003), and Shepherdess with an Automatic (WWPH, 2000, Towson University Prize for Literature). Sections from Satterfield’s Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond (Demeter Press, 2009) received Florida Review’s Editors’ Prize, the Faulkner Society/Pirate’s Alley Essay Award, and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. With Laurie Kruk, she co-edited the multi-genre anthology Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland.
Satterfield received a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship and several Maryland State Arts Council awards. Individual poems have won Bellingham Review’s 49th Parallel Poetry Prize, as well as the Ledbury Festival Poetry Prize and the Mslexia women’s poetry prize (both U.K. awards). She has been a Walter E. Dakin fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and received residency fellowships from the Arvon Foundation (U.K.), the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Satterfield’s poetry, prose, and lyric essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, The Common, Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, Ecotone, Hotel Amerika, Hopkins Review, Missouri Review, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, Orion, Pleiades, Shenandoah, and elsewhere, as well as on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. She has served on the faculty of the West Chester Poetry Conference and as the 2019 Salisbury, Maryland Poet-in-Residence.
Satterfield is married to poet Ned Balbo. Born in Corby, England, to a British mother also born in Corby, she holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and is a professor of writing at Loyola University Maryland.
Select Poems from The Badass Brontës
Portrait courtesy of Ned Balbo, photographer
The Badass Brontës
In blazing poems of biography and reinvention, Jane Satterfield’s The Badass Brontës explores the lives and afterlives of sisters Emily, Charlotte, and Anne, “hellbent/at books & candle-lit” and the inspirationforreaders and writers as far-ranging as Kate Bush and Sylvia Plath. A Yorkshire cleric’s daughters forced to break into publishing by masquerading as men, here they burn brightly as themselves in poems that range from life narratives and lyric elegies to witty inquiries into the sisters’ status as popular culture avatars. Here you’ll find a poem in the form of an Internet quiz that reveals which Brontë you most resemble, a look at the tattoos a modern-day Emily might have worn, the title poem in which the sisters stride forward as action heroes, and a poem on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s real-life attempt to summon Charlotte’s ghost in a séance.
Elsewhere, Satterfield’s vision looks to the crises of our own age. In a sequence about desire and women’s choices, Emily is reimagined as an apprentice hedgewitch encountering the medicinals of “Eve’s herbs,” a pupil tutored in the secrets that they harbor; meanwhile, Charlotte faces the primal trauma that robbed the sisters of their mother when she confronts the reality of her own fatal pregnancy. Here are treasures galore: from poems that reflect Emily’s status as a proto-environmentalist whose rescued hawk Nero is a source of joy and grief, to further channelings of the Brontë sisters’ sensitivity to fragile landscapes and the more-than-human world. For longtime Brontë fans and newcomers alike,The Badass Brontësis a poetic tour-de-force that remixes and reinvents the lives, afterlives, and creative achievements of three extraordinary women whose influence continues to be felt.