Felon: Poems

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Product Details
$26.95  $25.06
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.1 X 8.5 X 0.5 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author
Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet, lawyer, and the founder and director of Freedom Reads.
Searing...[Bett's] critique, having largely to do with the criminalization of poverty, charges these poems and flows through them, energizing their lyric force...This is a powerful work of lyric art. It is also a tour de force indictment of the carceral industrial state.--Carolyn Forché
In visually arresting poems, Betts exposes systematic prejudices, legal disparities, and the emotional strain of raising two sons in a country accustomed to assuming the worst about Black males... Also found in the powerful realism of Betts's poems are vivid portrayals of steadfast love for the speakers family, while the theme of reentry beats throughout. The importance of Betts's collection cannot be overstated as current events shed light on ongoing injustices.
Felon is the keenest of testaments to what it's like to have lived behind the walls, to the crucible of having one's humanity challenged, changed, erased, to how--for the anointed--prisons persist beyond the walls. While there are poems aplenty on the mental and physical violence of prison and our unjustice system, the collection is also a moving exploration of love--romantic and familial--and how one nurtures that love against odds that at times seem impossible. Felon is bracing, revelatory work. Read it and be transformed.--Mitchell S. Jackson, author of Survival Math
Felon is a stunningly crafted indictment of prison's dehumanization of Black men and their loved ones. Through his unvarnished descriptions of the path to prison and its aftermath from myriad vantage points--son, husband, father, cellmate, Yale-educated public defender--Betts does nothing to protect himself, or us, from what he has done and suffered and witnessed. His compassion and breathtaking literary gifts make it impossible for us to look away or remain complicit in mass criminalization's status quo.--sujatha baliga, director of the Restorative Justice Project