A Beautiful Mind on Death Row
Pennsylvania -- "...I ain't had a woman in a long damn time. And you wanna know why I got an attitude? I live inside my head. The most beautiful place in the world."
So ends the title poem from Inside My Head, (iuniverse, ISBN: 0-595-21920-9, $12.95, April, 2002) a new book of poems by Pennsylvania death row inmate Reginald S. Lewis. He divides 69 poems into four sections, then invites the reader to take a front seat on a fast moving train fleeting through the topography of his mind.
Lewis writes poems about the disconcerted lives of men and women in prison and on death row, about a biracial teen's suicide, his own crack-addicted sister's tortured life, a young pimp's brutal murder, even a frustrated actress turned serial killer.
Other poems recount his correspondence with the late Gwendolyn Brooks, racial profiling, the women in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden, war, and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
"I want to burrow deep into my soul, through a process of the self-examination of my masculine psyche, my political consciousness and world views -- shaped and mortised by my almost two decades long confinement on death row," writes Lewis, who was once a member of 12th and Oxford Street gang in Philly, and a member of the Nation of Islam in its heyday, where he was known as Squad Leader Reginald 26X. These days, he is a member of the Academy of American Poets - and the National Book Critics Circle.
In 1983, Lewis was convicted of the stabbing death of a man in a Philadelphia bar. He was tried by the notorious Albert F. Sabo, a judge who has sent more poor black defendants to death row than any other acting judge. An all-white jury sentenced him to death. Reggie Lewis claims he was in California at the time.
An autodidact, Lewis has penned poems, essays, plays, and short stories that were published in countless publications and several countries.
Lewis's work has garnered three P.E.N. American Center writing awards for prisoners. Two of his children's plays were professionally produced. His first book of poems, Leaving Death Row, received wide acclaim. The last chapter in his new book of poems is a beautiful montage of interconnected dreams, personal memories, and slice-of-prison-life musings. Inside My Head is a work of lyrical genius - a book that will earn Reggie Lewis the title of the best imprisoned poet in America.
Editors: For review copies or interviews with this self-published author, contact: Reginald S. Lewis, #AY2902, 175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, PA 15370-8089.
Readers/Bookstores can order copies of this new book by calling toll free: 1-877-823-9235, or visiting:
Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com), Amazon.com, and Booksamillion.com.
Please visit www.reginaldslewis.com for more information.