Festival of Words: Write Along with Louisiana Poet Laureate, John Warner Smith

In this workshop, you will learn how to look more deeply into poetry and through a series of exercises, will write your own personally meaningful work.

John Warner Smith's poems include a range of subjects: ekphrastic poems; intimate portrayals of ordinary people; reflections on current events and civil rights issues. His language is meticulously crafted, with narratives that breathe like an intimate conversation. With deftness and honesty, his poems take on racial issues, employing images and stories that reveal complexity, pain and realization. — Patrice Melnick, Founder of the Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective

Festival of Words Workshops offer a chance for participants to learn from established authors. Authors will lead students through invention techniques, helping you to write your own poem or prose. The sessions will not include critique-only writing, sharing; guidance and inspiration. Workshops are available on a 1st come, 1st served basis. To reserve a place, please send a donation of $10 or more via this form, and your place will be reserved.

This workshop is made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

John Warner Smith is the author of four collections of poetry. His fifth collection, Our Shut Eyes: New & Selected Poems on Race in America, is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Smith began writing poetry while building a successful professional career as a public administrator and a bank executive. His last public sector position was service on the cabinet of Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Labor, where he led the recovery of the states workforce development system in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Smith earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Upon completing the MFA, he received a fellowship from the Cave Canem Foundation to attend the prestigious writing program founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady. Smith is also a three-time participant of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, where he studied under award-winning poets Tracy K. Smith and Terrance Hayes. Smith teaches English at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Since November 2007, he has directed a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to reforming public education in Louisiana.