JANE BEAL, PhD was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California. She received her BA (Sonoma State University), MA (Sonoma State University), and PhD (UC Davis) in English, with concentrations in biblical, classical, medieval, and early modern literature, as well as a Certificate in Midwifery from Mercy in Action College of Midwifery. After nine years of teaching nationally, and serving internationally, she returned home. She is now professor and chair of English at the University of La Verne (near Los Angeles) in southern California.
Her books of poetry include Sanctuary (2008), Rising (2015), and Song of the Selkie (2020) as well as five haiku micro-chapbooks from Origami Poems, Journey, Garden, Bliss, Wide Awake and Dreaming and In the Santa Cruz Mountains. She has recorded three audio projects combining music and poetry: “Songs from the Secret Life,” “Love-Song,” and with her brother, saxophonist and composer Andrew Beal, “The Jazz Bird.” She interweaves poetry and collage artwork in her picture-books Sacred Art and Fairy-Tale; poetry and photography in Tidepools; and poetry and painting in Light and Lily. She is also contributing poet and editor of Hail, Radiant Star! (2019), a poetry anthology.
Her fiction is featured in her book, Short Stories from Undiscovered Countries (2009). Her stories also appear in Crux Literary Journal, Dappled Things, Pacific Review, Literature Today, and Main Street Rag’s Law & Disorder anthology. Her short story collection, Hourglass, is under review.
Her creative nonfiction includes biographies of medieval and Renaissance women writers, about such luminaries as Christina Markyate, Marie de France, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Queen Elizabeth I, and Aemilia Lanyer, published in Gale’s British Writers, and about contemporary poet Ruth Stone, published in American Writers. She has written many articles about the lives of midwives and the practice of midwifery, which appear regularly in the professional magazine Midwifery Today. She also publishes lyric essays, which combine memoir, research, and poetry.
In the field of literary scholarship and cultural studies, she has written the academic monograph, John Trevisa and the English Polychronicon (2012), and co-edited the festschrift, Translating the Past: Essays on Medieval Literature in Honor of Marijane Osborn (2012). Inspired by the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision called Pearl, she has also written The Signifying Power of Pearl: Medieval Literary and Cultural Contexts for the Transformation of Genre (2017), co-authored and co-edited Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl (2018), and edited and translated Pearl: A Middle English Edition and Modern English Translation (2020). For Brill, she is the editor of two volumes of academic essays on the reception of major religious figures in the Middle Ages: Illuminating Moses (2014) and Illuminating Jesus (2019).
Prior to joining the University of La Verne, she taught at Wheaton College (near Chicago), Colorado Christian University (near Denver), and the University of California, Davis (between San Francisco and Sacramento) as well as EPIC Bible College and Graduate School and the UC Washington Center (in Washington, D.C.). She served as a midwife in the U.S., Uganda, and the Philippines. As a sincere follower of Jesus, she has also served as a lay minister in diverse Christian churches.
All things are possible to the one who believes