4X4CLT Poetry Master Class: The Multitudes of "I"
1817 Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
Poets, essayists, fiction writers have sought lovely affairs with the “I,” and here by lovely I take it to mean Adam Smith’s definition, which is not just being loved, but being worthy of that love. And yet, wanting to be loved frequently becomes wanting to be a hero, or at least not wanting to be the one who was wrong. Of all the forms, fiction permits the writer to more easily duck this dilemma, because when it comes to deciding which character is the writer - there are choices. But the poet and essayist feel deeply entangled with the I. How to still be an artist given this dilemma? How to ensure that everything you write isn’t a desire to be loved?
In this class we’ll rap about that. We’ll talk about some essays, some poems, and a handful of lines from novels that make me believe honesty is an art form that can be delivered with elegance and wit and maybe the sheer astonishment that one person can be so horrible to those they love.
About the Instructor: Reginald Dwayne Betts is an award-winning author, poet, lawyer, and outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform, whose writing interrogates and challenges our notions of justice. He transformed himself from a sixteen-year-old kid sentenced to nine years in prison to a critically acclaimed writer and graduate of the Yale Law School. He’s the author of three volumes of poetry, including his most recent, Felon. An in-demand speaker, Betts speaks about his own experiences and the role that grit, perseverance, and literature played in his success. He also lectures on mass incarceration, contemporary poetry, and the intersection of literature and advocacy.
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