Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Fellow: Awarded 2018
Field of Study: Poetry

Competition: US & Canada

Born in 1980, Reginald Dwayne Betts was raised in Suitland, Maryland. He is married to Terese Marie Betts and the father of Micah and Miles. A poet, memoirist, and lawyer, his writing and research investigate, explore, and grapple with the central role of incarceration to the American experience.

His latest collection of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way Books, 2015) received the 2016 PEN New England Award in Poetry. His first collection of poems, Shahid Reads His Own Palm, won the Beatrice Hawley Award. Betts’ memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was the recipient of the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. Betts has received fellowships from Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies, the Open Society Institute, and New America.

He holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland; an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, where he was a Holden Fellow; and, a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was awarded the Israel H. Perez Prize for best student note or comment appearing in the Yale Law Journal. He is a Ph. D. in Law candidate at Yale and as a Liman Fellow, he spent a year representing clients in the New Haven Public Defender’s Office.

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