Today, Thursday's Three highlights a trio of new poetry collections.
✭ Reginald Dwayne Betts — Bastards of the Reagan Era (Stahlecker Selections, 2015) ~ Betts's newly published collection elegizes the experience of being a black man in America, what it means to go about "the business of human tragedy" that involves "more than a dead black man in the center" of an "awful tale." When Betts writes, ". . . Prison / has taken the place of / freedom, . . ." he calls out of his own life the insider's knowledge of having been broken.
If you have an opportunity to hear Betts read or lecture, do so; and then go re-read his poems.
Read an excerpt: "What We Know of Horses" (pdf).
Betts also is the author of Shadid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, 2010), his impressive debut collection and 2009 winner of the Alice James Award (formerly, Beatrice Hawley Award); and A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (Avery, 2009), recipient of a NAACP Image Award for nonfiction.
Reginald Dwayne Betts on FaceBook
Related Post: "In Prison: Redemption Through Writing", Writing Without Paper, December 8, 2010
✭ Alan Bennett — Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin | An Anthology (Yale University Press, 2015) ~ For this anthology, Bennett, a fiction writer and dramatist, selected more than 70 poems by Thomas Hardy, A.E. Housman, John Betjeman, W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, and Philip Larken. The poems are accompanied by Bennett's appraisals. An audio CD of the anthology also is available.
✭ Mike Yarrow and Ruth Yarrow — Voices from the Appalachian Coalfields (Bottom Dog Press, 2015) ~ This is a collection of "found" poems about miners and mining life. The poems are accompanied by Douglas Yarrow's photographs taken in the Appalachian coalfields.
Mike Yarrow died in 2014; his wife Ruth and their children and his brother Douglas survive him.