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Poetry in a Pandemic: John Warner Smith on His Unusual Tenure as Louisiana Poet Laureate

NEW DATE: Saturday, April 24, 11 a.m.

Register via Zoom here

Join Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith for a conversation with Baton Rouge-based spoken-word poet Chancelier “xero” Skidmore on poetry and the pandemic. Smith, whose two-year poet laureate term began in August 2019, will share his experiences connecting with audiences through virtual means and offer insights on how the writing, reading, and sharing of poetry can provide comfort and context in troubled times.

About John Warner Smith

A native of Morgan City, Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith began writing poetry while simultaneously building a successful career as a public administrator and a banker. He now teaches English at Southern University in Baton Rouge, in addition to regularly publishing new works of poetry. Since his appointment as Louisiana Poet Laureate in August 2019 by Governor John Bel Edwards, Smith has participated in a wide range of public programs, including readings, lectures, workshops, and more, with the goal of sharing poetry’s richness with Louisiana residents. Smith is a fellow of the prestigious Academy of American Poets and has published four collections of poetry: Muhammad’s Mountain (Lavender Ink, 2018), Spirits of the Gods (UL Press, 2017), Soul Be A Witness (MadHat Press, 2016), and A Mandala of Hands (Kelsay Books – Aldrich Press, 2015). His fifth collection, Our Shut Eyes, is forthcoming from MadHat Press.

About Chancelier “xero” Skidmore

Chancelier “xero” Skidmore is a writer, spoken-word poet, educator, percussionist, voice actor, radio show host, and arts administrator from Plaquemine, Louisiana. Since 2005 he has regularly facilitated writing workshops in Louisiana and beyond. His published poetry includes the collection upBEAT DOWNbeat. In 2013, he claimed the top award at the Individual World Poetry Slam. He now serves as Director of Community Engagement at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, where he facilitates writing workshops for the incarcerated, oversees the state Poetry Out Loud competition, and hosts the radio show/podcast AC23.

This program is made possible thanks to support from the Academy of American Poets. Additional support is provided by WWNO New Orleans Public Radio.