Reginald Dwayne BettsRuth Lingen

Untitled (Haiku Poems)

Reginald Dwayne Betts, Ruth Lingen

Untitled (Haiku Poems)



Edition Size

4, with 2 APs


Handmade paper, Letterpress




30.25 × 20 in


Brooklyn, NY


Line Press Limited

$ 15,000.00

3 in stock

View Collectors

Princeton University

Smith College

Ruth, Papermaker, take these tattered grey sweats.
Make paper out of my bid: a past I won’t reject after prison.*

MacArthur Fellow Reginald Dwayne Betts collected clothes from his group of friends in prison. He wanted to create meaning from his own and his friends’ incarceration in a way his poetry and law practice alone could not. Socks, sweatpants, T-shirts, thermal pants – all the smell and wear of time ended up at master printer Ruth Lingen’s studio. Lingen starts the papermaking process by cutting the fabrics into small squares with scissors and turns all into a fiber slop. After couching for a few days the slop dries into a soft, semi smooth paper sheet. Added to the recycled fabrics were also tiny snippets of Betts’ legal documents. Barely readable and unrecognizable but nevertheless there, the former grayish sweat pants and documents turn the handmade paper into a space Betts and so many others once have occupied. Betts’ haikus reflecting his experience of incarceration were printed onto these sheets; together with Lingen, he transforms prison into “a moment in time”. Through their art and craft this print portfolio, not unlike a kite, becomes a bridge between the reality of prison and the outside world.

Handset wood type printed on handmade paper, made from worn prison sweat pants and shirts with additional macerated hand-written letters from inmates and legal documents pertaining to cases included throughout the sheets. Set of four prints.

There are only 3 sets of prints available.

Reginald Dwayne Betts is an American poet, legal scholar, educator and prison reform advocate. He is the founder and director of Freedom Reads, a first-of-its-kind organization that empowers people through literature to confront what prison does to the spirit. Betts is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow, a 2018 Guggenheim fellow and a Radcliffe fellow. His latest collection of poetry, Felon, was awarded the American Book Award and an NAACP Image Award. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Ruth Lingen learned both her trade and the pleasure of collaborating with living artists as a shop worker for the legendary New York printmaker Joe Wilfer and midwest bookmaster Walter Hamady. In the years since, she herself has become somewhat of a legend, collaborating with nearly 50 of the world’s greatest artists, on prints (some for Pace editions, some on her own) and very special limited edition artist books. She is the founder of Line Press Limited, a women owned print studio located in Brooklyn, NY.

Read The New Yorker article about the project, The Poet Writing on Prison Underwear

*Quote from: GHAZAL in Felon, Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts, 2019