McConnell Arts Center
6:00 – Meet-the-author Reception, Main Gallery
7:00 – Author Talk, Bronwynn Theatre
Tickets: $15; $10 for Friends of the Library, MAC Members, and students
In 1996, Betts was a 16-year-old honor student when he participated in a carjacking. He was caught and sentenced to nine years in an adult prison. The anthology The Black Poets, which he read while in solitary confinement, changed his life. Betts earned his GED in prison and started writing.
On January 16, he’ll share his inspirational story, illustrating how the powerful effect of language, poetry and his own determination helped him survive in a hostile environment and, ultimately, take control of his future.
Betts is the author of the memoir A Question of Freedom and two books of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm and Bastards of the Reagan Era, the latter of which received the 2016 PEN New England Award in Poetry and made Library Journal’s “Best Books 2015: Poetry” list.
He is also the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice, a presidential appointee to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, winner of a NAACP Image Award and recipient of a Radcliffe Fellowship to Harvard University’s Institute of Advanced Studies. He graduated from Yale earlier this year.