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Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of four books. His latest collection of poetry, Felon, was published in October 2019 by W.W. Norton. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Survival and Dying

Years ago, I wrote that Glen McGinnis didn’t know he would live forever. But of course, he didn’t. He died, in a prison in Huntsville, Texas. From a cell in Texas he wanted to write his way out of a date with an electric chair nicknamed “Old Sparky.” His letters, written to anyone who would listen, were filled with prison’s literacy: awkward phrases like “I was told that your person” and “I do hope that by the time this missive reaches you.” The way he wrote said that he was educated within a cell, his letters peppered with words no longer heard outside of prison walls.

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The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

All Issues