John Warner Smith speaks on A Mandala of Hands.

Each of the experiences shared here has moved me to feel, think or act in some way bends toward light or virtue, at least as I would define it. Each has in some way shaped the limits and possibilities of my own personal journey—even when I have been unconscious of their influence. It is in the vicissitudes and seasons, in the awareness and blindness of human self, with its strangely conflicting and compensating opposites of power and vulnerability, where I find the inspiration, the need finally, to portray human experience, the black experience, through poetry.  


Selected Poems In Print

Dumb , Transition Magazine, Issue 117, 2015
Moving Men, North American Review, Vol. 302.2, Spring 2017
Wise Old Men, KYSO Flash, Issue KF-8, Fall 2017
Why Being a Black Father in America Today Frightens and Angers Me, 2Leaf Press, Black Lives Have Always Mattered, 2017
Renaissance Man, Jelly Bucket, Vol. 8, 2018
The Torch, The Missouri Review (Online), Poem of the Week,June 4, 2018
Black Power, The Louisville Review, Vol. 83, Spring 2018
Louisville Lip, Quiddity, Vol. 11, 2018
American Portrait, Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Fall/Winter 2018
Crossing, Callaloo, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2008
Zydeco on Dog Hill, Ploughshares, Vol. 39, No. 1, Spring 2013
Talking Book, The Worcester Review, Vol. XXXIV, Numbers 1 & 2, 2013
Hunting Dragonflies, American Athenaeum, Autumn/Winter 2013
An Artist Reflects on His Creations, Kestrel, Fall 2013
Gazing, About Place Journal, Volume II, Issue IV, 2014
Hand Fan, Pembroke, No, 46, Spring 2014
Songs We Never Heard, Mom Egg Review, No. 12, Spring 2014
Stars Tupelo Quarterly, Vol.II, TQ5, Fall 2014


I begin every poem with either a visual image of a thing or experience, past or present, or a strongly felt emotion. But I also begin a poem with the expectation that the words on the page will surprise me with meaning