Reginald Dwayne Betts | Redaction
In conversation with Airea D. Matthews
A “powerful work of lyric art” and “tour de force indictment of the carceral industrial state” (The New York Times Book Review), Reginald Dwayne Betts’ poetry collection Felon won the NAACP Image Award, the American Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Also the author of two other poetry collections and a memoir, he received the 2019 National Magazine Award for his New York Times Magazine essay about his journey from prison inmate to Yale Law School. His other honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, a 2021 MacArthur “genius grant”, and a Radcliffe fellowship from Harvard. Betts is the founder and executive director of Freedom Reads, a not-for-profit institution devoted to providing greater access to literature in prisons. Created in collaboration with visual artist Titus Kaphar, Redaction is a multimedia examination of the relationship between race and incarceration in America.
Airea D. Matthews is the 2022-2023 Philadelphia Poet Laureate and directs the poetry program at Bryn Mawr College. Her collection Simulacra won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Best American Poets, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, and VQR, among other journals. Her autobiographical poetry collection Bread and Circus will be published this spring.
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