Lowell Lecture: Reginald Dwayne Betts - An Evening of Poetry

WED, MAR 22, 2017

Betts transformed himself from a sixteen-year old teen sentenced to nine-years in prison to a critically acclaimed writer and student at Yale Law School. In 2016, he was awarded the PEN New England Award for poetry for Bastards of the Reagan Era. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, is the story of a young man confined in the worst prisons in the state of Virginia, where solitary confinement, horrific conditions, and the constant violence threatened to break his humanity. Instead, Betts used the time to turn himself into a poet, a scholar, and an advocate for the reform of the criminal justice system. Betts will read from his two critically-acclaimed collections of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm and Bastards of the Reagan Era, and discuss the power of language and examine the important intersection of art and social justice.

(Image: Pixabay)

+ BIO: Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of a memoir and two books of poetry. His memior, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (Avery/Penguin, 2009), was awarded the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. His books of poetry are Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James, 2010) and Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way Books, 2015). Betts is a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow, 2011 Radcliffe Fellow, and 2012 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow. In 2012, Betts was appointed to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by President Obama. He is a graduate of Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College, and is currently a student at Yale Law School.

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