Join the Human Rights Lab for the first event in our two-part series, “Prison, Poetry, and the Pandemic: Speculating Joy and Futures,” with poet and editor Tara Betts. Tara will discuss imagination, playfulness, and joy in poetry as she shares her own work and reads poems by incarcerated writers who have taken her poetry class at Stateville Prison, where she teaches with the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project.
Tara Betts is the author of two poetry collections, Break the Habit, Arc & Hue, and the forthcoming Refuse to Disappear. She also coedited The Beiging of America and edited a critical edition of Philippa Duke Schuyler's Adventures in Black and White. Her sci-fi-related writing has appeared in Cicada, Near Kin: A Collection of Words and Art Inspired by Octavia Estelle Butler, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, and the Hugo-nominated Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Her work has also appeared in The Breakbeat Poets, The Long Term, Essence magazine, Poetry magazine, and many other publications. In addition to her work as a teaching artist and mentor for young poets, she's taught a weekly poetry workshop at Stateville Prison and has also taught at several universities, including Rutgers University and University of Illinois-Chicago. In 2019, Tara published a poem celebrating Illinois' bicentennial with Candor Arts. Tara is Poetry Editor at Another Chicago Magazine and The Langston Hughes Review and the Lit Editor at Newcity.
Co-presented the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, the Mass Incarceration Working Group, and UChicago Creative Writing.