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Louisiana Poet Laureate to Discuss the Making and Performing of Poetry in a Pandemic

BATON ROUGE – On Saturday, April 10, at 10 a.m., join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities as it hosts Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith in 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.

A native of Morgan City, 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.

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 and is free and open to the public. Register to participate via Zoom here. In addition, participants can watch via Facebook at

WHO:      The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, with support from the Academy of American Poets

WHAT:    “Poetry in a Pandemic: John Warner Smith on His Unusual Tenure as Louisiana Poet Laureate,” a virtual event

WHEN:    Saturday, April 10, 2021 | 10 a.m. (CST)

WHERE: Online via Zoom and via the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Facebook page

HOW:      This event is free and open to the public. Register to participate via Zoom here: In addition, participants can watch via Facebook at


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