General admission tickets for $5 will go on sale here starting at 12 pm noon on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS comes to Houston to share his new poetry collection Felon, “bracing, revelatory work” (Mitchell S. Jackson) that animates what it means to be a “felon,” while confronting the smear of post-incarceration and prison as a force that enacts a lifetime of pressure. He is the author of two other poetry collections – Bastards of the Reagan Era and Shahid Reads His Own Palm – and A Question of Freedom, his NAACP Image Award-winning memoir, a searing, uplifting story that follows a nine-year prison sentence (starting when he was 16) and his resoluteness against being reduced to the 30 seconds he held a gun in his hand. With more than “just a powerful story to tell,” Jericho Brown calls Betts “a true poet who can write a ghazal that sings, howls, rhymes, and resonates in memory.” He is a graduate of Yale Law School and received an MFA from Warren Wilson College.
NATALIE DIAZ, born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village, is an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her debut collection When My Brother Was an Aztec, which won an American Book Award, draws upon reservation folklore, pop culture, fractured gospels, and her brother’s addiction to methamphetamine in a delicate balance of stark intimacy and gorgeous lyricism. Among her other honors, Diaz has received a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, as well as the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the Native Arts Council Foundation. She comes to Houston to read from her new collection Postcolonial Love Poem, which, according to Adrian Matejka, “elegantly negotiates experience, tradition, and myth” and demonstrates that she is “a poet who understands tradition but is not beholden to it.” Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program.