64 Parishes


Laureates Online with John Warner Smith

64 Parishes presents Laureates Online, a series marking National Poetry Month with virtual readings

Published: April 7, 2020
Last Updated: May 28, 2020

In times of crisis, artists of all stripes, including poets, work to make meaning through art. Right now, during this global crisis, there has never been a better time to engage with poetry. 

April is National Poetry Month, and although we can’t mark the occasion in person, 64 Parishes is committed to bringing you the best of Louisiana’s poetry scene, including our new Laureates Online series. Every Wednesday at noon we’ll bring you virtual readings with Louisiana’s current and former poets laureate via Facebook and 64Parishes.org.  

Our first reading is from our current Louisiana Poet Laureate, John Warner Smith. The first African American man appointed to the position, Smith earned his MFA at the University of New Orleans and is a fellow of Cave Canem. He teaches English at Southern University in Baton Rouge and leads a non-profit organization that seeks to improve outcomes in public schools.  

Much of his poetry draws upon African American history and his personal experiences of growing up and living in the South. This piece, “Faith of Children, for Louisiana,” provides a powerful reminder of our shared humanity and encourages all of us to call on childlike faith in that shared humanity to get through this crisis.