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From the Studio: Reginald Dwayne Betts

 Dwayne Betts
Photo: Jonna Algarin Mojica
Dwayne Betts gives a talk during an author event

The poet and social justice activist speaks about Freedom Reads and new work

Prior to his talk at Gonzaga University on October 26 as part of the school's Visiting Writers Series, poet and social justice activist Reginald Dwayne Betts spoke by phone with E.J. Iannelli.

Betts discussed how his experience as a 16-year-old sentenced to nine years in prison continues to inform his worldview, his social justice work and his poetry. He also explained his motivation for founding Freedom Reads, an organization that aims to expand access to literature in prison, including here in Washington state.

Additionally, Betts offered a preview of his forthcoming book Redaction, which emerged out of a joint project with visual artist and filmmaker Titus Kaphar that was exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Betts is a graduate of the Yale Law School and has written three acclaimed collections of poetry: Felon, Bastards of the Reagan Era and Shahid Reads His Own Palm. He has been awarded the PEN New England Award for poetry, named a Guggenheim Fellow (2018) and an NEA Fellow (2018) and received a NAACP Image Award.

"An Evening with Dwayne Betts" takes place on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 7:30 pm in Gonzaga University's Hemmingson Ballroom.

More information is available on the Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series webpage.

E.J. Iannelli is Spokane Public Radio's Arts and Music Director