Boston Public Library welcomes REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS for a reading from his two critically-acclaimed collections of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm and Bastards of the Reagan Era, a discussion of the power of language, and an examination of the important intersection of art and social justice. 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.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.