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Sunday, October 20 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Poetry Keynote: Reginald Dwayne Betts

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Dwayne Betts’s personal story is one of reinvention and redemption. Convicted of felony carjacking in his teens, Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released after eight, determined to use education to change his path in life and to advocate for others. With inspiring speed, he earned a bachelor’s degree, an MFA, and a law degree—becoming one of the first felons to do so—from Yale Law School. As well, he’s currently a PhD candidate in law at Yale. Poet, memoirist, lawyer, husband, father, and, yes, felon Reginald Dwayne Betts brings all these identities to bear on his new poetry collection, Felon, which indicts the profoundly destabilizing effects prison and the post-incarceration period have on ex-convicts, making the case that prison is not merely a place but also a force that exerts itself powerfully on individuals and communities. Betts’s poems also push the boundaries of poetry itself, incorporating traditional forms but also creating new ones that help illuminate the language and themes of each piece, while underscoring their vital importance. Boston Pulse performer, and student, Sumeya Aden will open the session; then, Betts will give a brief talk and reading, followed by an interview and Q&A led by journalist and Mass Poetry board chair Nicco Mele. Sponsored by G. Barrie Landry.

avatar for Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele is an academic, writer, and businessman. He lectures on public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is a renowned forecaster of business, politics, and culture. His firm, EchoDitto, is a leading internet strategy company working with nonprofits and Fortune... Read More →

avatar for Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of a memoir and three books of poetry. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was awarded the 2010 NAACP Image Award for nonfiction. His books of poetry are Shahid Reads His Own Palm, Bastards... Read More →
avatar for Sumeya Aden

Sumeya Aden

Sumeya is a Muslim youth activist, spoken word poet navigating racism. She is a Boston Pulse Poet, student at John D O’Bryant High School.

Sunday October 20, 2019 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
Dewitt Center Gym 122 Dewitt Dr, Boston, MA, 02120