March 22, 2017 at 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Boston Public Library - Rabb Lecture Hall
700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116
Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-859-2382)
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.