Author and poet to host reading at FAU

After spending more than eight years in prison, Reginald Dwayne Betts will host a poetry reading with students and staff


Reginald Dwayne Betts’s reading will be presented by the FAU Department of English this Thursday, Feb. 18. Photo courtesy of FAU’s Department of English.

Tucker Berardi, Staff Writer

Award-winning author and poet Reginald Dwayne Betts is staging a reading at Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Majestic Palm Room.

During an 8-year span in prison, Betts earned his high school diploma and broadened an appreciation for writing and poetry. He is now in his last year at Yale Law University.

Betts was invited by English professor Rebecca McKay, the director of the creative writing program. Betts is a part of the program’s “Off the Page: Events for Readers and Writers” series, which has published writers participate in public readings for the FAU community.

Several classes within the English department teach Betts’ work, including the Rhetorics of Incarceration class taught by Wendy Hinshaw. The class involves written exchanges between students and prison writers and uses two main readings from Betts throughout the course.

Susie Meeler, a junior studying English, is a student from Hinshaw’s class. She plans on attending the Betts reading and said, “I am personally inspired by Betts, I find his work profound.”

After his release at 24, Betts published “A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison.” He later published two poetry books, “Shahid Reads His Own Palm” and “Bastards of the Reagan Era.”

The morning before Betts’ reading, he will accompany Hinshaw and McKay to the Dade Correctional Institution. There, he will meet and read with the incarcerated writers that collaborate with Hinshaw’s Rhetorics of Incarceration class.

“He has made a name for himself,” said Meeler. “His books should be in book clubs. Oprah would definitely recommend [them].”

Tucker Berardi is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him regarding this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.