John Warner Smith is a Cave Canem fellow whose first book, A Mandala of Hands, will be published in late 2014 by Aldrich Press. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Callaloo, Antioch Review, The Worcester Review, Fourteen Hills, Pembroke, Kestrel, African American Review, American Athenaeum and other literary journals. His manuscript was a finalist in the 2013 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award competition. A resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he directs a statewide organization dedicated to improving public education. He also teaches English and Creative Writing at Southern University in Baton Rouge. He earned his MFA at the University of New Orleans.