Poets on Poetry

A Conversation and Q&A with Poet Reginald Dwayne Betts



A lively conversation between celebrated poet and lawyer Reginald Dwayne Betts and educator Melissa Smith  about the art and craft of poetry and its intersection with activism.  A MacArthur award winner for his work promoting the rights of people who are or have been incarcerated, Betts has authored several books of poetry, the most recent of which, Felon, was hailed as “a powerful work of lyric art” by the New York Times Book Review.  Betts will discuss his own story, his approach to writing, and  how one might teach a few of his poems.

Following the conversation, Betts responded to questions during an open audience Q&A.



Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and essayist. He is the author of three volumes of poetry and one memoir. A graduate of Yale Law School, he lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his family.

Melissa Smith teaches at Lake Norman Charter High School in North Carolina and was the 2017 District Teacher of the Year. She is an AP® Reader, the creator of the #TeachLivingPoets hashtag and https://teachlivingpoets.com, and the co-author of Teach Living Poets (2021). A frequent presenter, she has facilitated conversations with poets on behalf of the National Council of Teachers of English for several years.

Image Credit for Betts photo: Mamadi Doumbouya

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