Betcha Ain't: Poems from Attica



Betcha Ain't: Poems from Attica

This edition

"Betcha Ain't: Poems from Attica." Ed. Celes Tisdale. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1974. 62 pp.

Table of contents

n/a, but includes the following:
● Brother Amar (George Robert Elie) / Forget?
● Hersey Boyer / Attica Reflections
● Isaiah Hawkins / 13th of Genocide
● Mshaka (Willie Monroe) / Formula for Attica Repeats
● John Lee Norris (Kamua) / Just Another Page (September 13-72)
● Harold E. Packwood / The Red-Neck Coke Machine
● Harold E. Packwood / [8 other poems . . . ]
● Christopher Sutherland / Sept. 13
● Samuel L. Washington / Was It Necessary?

About the anthology

● Celes Tisdale, an assistant professor at Erie Community College in Buffalo, began holding a poetry workshop at the Attica prison on 24 May 1972, eight months after the Attica prison uprising and its bloody suppression (which led to the deaths of 43 prisoners and guards) (Nowak 2020). This anthology brings together a selection of the participants' poems along with extracts from Tisdale's journal about the workshop experience.

Anthology editor(s)' discourse

● About the editor: (note about Celes Tisdale from June 2016 on Facebook page of Olean Public Library, NY): "Dr. Celes Tisdale is a professional actor, a published poet, a national and international storyteller, and a lecturer on the arts and culture. Tisdale grew up mostly on Buffalo’s East Side, and in his lifetime he has taught in a variety of contexts, including the Buffalo Public School System, a creative writing program at Attica State Prison, and the University at Buffalo, where he is now a Professor Emeritus (English).
"Tisdale has published an anthology, Betcha Ain’t: Poems from Attica, and We Be Poetin’, We the People. He served as the executive director of the African American Cultural Center of Buffalo, and it was during his tenure that he named the institute’s theater after Paul Robeson. He was a recipient of a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Buffalo’s “Man of the Year” Award, and Buffalo and Erie County Arts Council Artist of the Year. He has also been acknowledged by Young Audiences of Western New York with an Outstanding Artist Award."

Commentary on anthology

● Nowak, Mark. "Solidarity through Poetry." "Boston Review" 30 April 2020.
"Long out of print, 'Betcha Ain't' has been all but erased from contemporary conversations about twentieth-century poetry, social history, and prison abolition. Even Thompson's 'Blood in the Water' makes no mention of it, and it warrants only a passing mention in Melba Joyce Boyd's excellent history of the Broadside Press, 'Wrestling with the Muse' (2004). In this, it is hardly alone, and it may principally be a problem of genre: poetry anthologies that stand as documents of radical political moments--other examples include anthologies of poetry from the Watts uprising and the New York City teachers strike--are rarely embraced by historians as valuable primary texts. When the authors are incarcerated people, that bias is exacerbated."
● Mark Nowak. "A People's History of the Poetry Workshop: Watts, New York City, Attica" in his "Social Poetics." Coffee House Press, 2020.

See also

● New York (State). Special Commission on Attica. "Attica: The Official Report of the Special Commission on Attica." New York: Bantam Books, 1972.

● Thompson, Ann. "Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy." New York: Pantheon Books, 2016.
● New York State Library: "Selected Resources on the 1971 Attica Uprising" (with supplementary entries)
● Attica Defense Committee. "Attica from Behind the Walls" (Buffalo, NY: Attica Defense Committee, 1972)
● Attica Defense Committee. "Voices from Inside: 7 Interviews with Attica Prisoners" (New York: Great Jones Printing Company, 1972)
● Attica Defense Committee. "We Are Attica: Interviews with Attica Prisoners" (New York: Great Jones Printing Company, 1972)
● Attica Prison. "Thirty-eighth annual report of Attica State Prison for fiscal year April 1, 1968 to March 31, 1969." (Albany: Department of Corrections, 1969.)
NYSL Call No.: D PRI 082-1 202-13
● Badillo, Herman, and Milton Haynes. "A Bill of No Rights; Attica and the American Prison System" (New York: Outerbridge & Lazard; Distributed by E. B. Dutton, 1972)
NYSL Call No.: C365.974793 B136
● Bell, Malcolm. "The Turkey Shoot: Tracking the Attica Cover-Up" (New York: Grove Press, 1985)
NYSL Call No.: C365.641 B434 86-25131
● Chen, David W., and Randall C. Archibold. "Attica Siege Still Shadows Its Survivors." "New York Times" 9 Jan. 2000.
● Clark, Richard X. "The Brothers of Attica" (New York: Links Books, 1973)
● Coons, William R. "Attica diary" (New York: Stein and Day, 1972)
NYSL Call No.: C365 ZAc75
● Featherstone, Richard Andrew. "Narratives from the 1971 Attica prison riot: toward a new theory of correctional disturbances" (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, c2005)
● Forgotten Victims of Attica. "A time for truth: public report of The Forgotten Victims of Attica" (Attica, NY: The Forgotten Victims of Attica, [2003])
NYSL Call No.: C365.64109 qF721 203-2530
● Hanson, Warren H. "Attica: The Hostages' Story." "New York Times" 31 Oct. 1971.
● Hudson, James A. "Attica" (New York: Kimtex Corporation, 1971).
NYSL Call No.: N365.9747 qH885
● Johnson, Anita, and Claude Marks. "Prisons on Fire: George Jackson, Attica & Black Liberation" (Oakland: AK Press, 2002) CD-ROM
● "The Legacy of Attica" (Rochester: Gannett Rochester Newspapers, 197-?)
NYSL Call No.: C365.973 L496 202-10039
● Lichtenstein, Brad, director. "Ghosts of Attica." Brooklyn: Icarus Films, 2001.
● Melville, Samuel. "Letters from Attica" (New York: William Morrow, 1972)
NYSL Call No.: C365 Zm5m5
● Newfield, Jack. "Attica: The Animals Were Outside." "The Village Voice" 23 Sept. 1971.
● New York (State). Dept. of Audit and Control. Division of Audits and Accounts. "Financial and operating practices, Attica Correctional Facility, Attica, New York, September 1, 1969-September 30, 1972."
NYSL Call No.: D AUD 200-4 ATTCF 1969/72 1551126
● New York (State). Dept. of Correctional Services. "Attica Correctional Facility" (Albany: The Department, 1973)
NYSL Call No.: D COR 815-4 ATTCF 91-26447.
● New York (State). Dept. of Law. "Final Report of the Special Attica investigation" ([Albany]: The Department, 1975.)
NYSL Call No.: D LAW 119-4 FINRS 76-519
● New York (State). Division of Audits and Accounts. "Audit report on financial and operating practices, Attica Prison, Attica, New York, January 1, 1963 - August 31, 1969" (Albany: The Division, 1971)
NYSL Call No.: D AUD 200-4 ATTPR 1963/69 82-71803
● New York (State) Goldman Panel to Protect Prisoners' Constitutional Rights. "Report of the Goldman Panel to Protect Prisoners' Constitutional Rights" (1971).
NYSL Call No.: D PRI 700-1 1971 75-13416
● New York (State). Select Committee on Correctional Institutions and Programs. "State of New York Select Committee on Correctional Institutions and Programs: held at New York County Lawyer's Building, 14 Vesey Street, New York, New York on Friday, February 11, 1972 at 9:30 o'clock a.m." (New York: Ralph Fink & Associates, Certified Stenotype Reporters, 1972.)
NYSL Call No.: D COR, 770-2 2/11/72,94-25800
● New York (State). Select Committee on Correctional Institutions and Programs. "Report." (New York: The Committee, 1972-1973.)
NYSL Call No.: D COR,770-1,94-25788
● New York (State) Special Commission on Attica. "Attica, the official report; plus 64 pages of on-the-scene photographs" (New York, Bantam Books, [1972])
NYSL Call No.: D ATT 050-1 9/72 1550243
● New York (State) Special Commission on Attica. "In the matter of the public hearings at Rochester, New York, April 12, 1972: before ... [the] Commission members, Robert B. McKay, Chairman [transcribed by Leon Zuck, reporter]" (Commerce Reporting Co., [1972])
NYSL Call No.: D ATT 050-2 1972
● New York (State) Special Commission on Attica. "Testimony of Robert R. Douglass, T. Norman Hurd, A. C. O'Hara, Howard Shapiro [and] Michael Whiteman before the McKay Commission, on April 15, 1972."
NYSL Call No.: D ATT 050-2 4/15/72 1474920
● New York (State) Special Commission on Attica. "Testimony of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller before the McKay Commission, on April 5, 1972"
NYSL Call No.: D ATT 050-2 4/5/72 1474919
● New York (State). Temporary Commission of Investigation. "A disclosure of Attica grand jury information: WHEC-TV's documentary, 'Attica, ten years later'" (New York: The Commission, 1982)
NYSL Call No.: D INV,650-4,DISAG,83-70603
● Oswald, Russell G. "Attica: My Story". Ed. Rodney Campbell. (Garden City : Doubleday, 1972).
NYSL Call No.: C365.974793 O86
● Oswald, Russell G. "Since Attica: the past year of penal reform" (Albany: Department of Corrections, 1972)
NYSL Call No.: D COR 815-4 SINAP 1550798
● Philip, Cynthia Owen, comp. "Imprisoned in America; prison communications, 1776 to Attica" (New York: Harper & Row, [1973]).
NYSL Call No.: C365.6 P549 73-2395
● Prather, Jeffrey Lynn. "400 days at Attica" (Bryn Mawr, Pa.: Dorrance, 1983.)
NYSL Call No.: C365.66 P912, 85-30273
● Ryan, Michael. "Attica. Transcribed Interview of Dalou Gonzalez, Oral history, ca. 1975-1977" (unpublished manuscript).
NYSL Call No.: N 19626
● Tisdale, Celes, 1941- comp. "Betcha ain't; poems from Attica" (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1974).
NYSL Call No.: C811.5408 T613 75-8798
● United States. Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit). "Inmates of the Attica Correctional Facility vs. Nelson Rockefeller, governor: decision of the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, December 1, 1971" (University of the State of New York, State Education Dept., 1971)
NYSL Call No.: LIB 470-4 INMAC 99-14340
● Useem, Bert, and Peter Kimball. "Stages of Siege: U.S. Prison Riots, 1971-1988." New York: Oxford UP, 1989.
● "War at Attica: Was There No Other Way?" "Time" 27 Sept. 1971.
● West, Cornel. Lecture at the Attica Is All of Us Commemoration, New York, NY, 10 Sept. 2011.
● Wicker, Tom. "'Unity!' A Haunting Echo from Attica." "New York Times" 15 Sept. 1971
● Wicker, Tom. "A Time to Die: The Attica Prison Revolt" (New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co., 1975)
NYSL Call No.: C365.974793 W636 73-4615
● Wicker, Tom. "The Undying Lessons from a Modern Massacre." "New York Times" 2 Sept. 2001.
● Wylie, Max. "400 miles from Harlem; courts, crime, and correction" (New York: Macmillan, 1972).
NYSL Call No.: C 364.973 W983

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