It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity

W. E. B. DuBois
from The Souls of Black Folk, 1903


JOHN WARNER SMITH‘s path to becoming a creative writer has not been conventional. By the time he graduated from college, he had grown committed to the ideals of social and economic justice. He spent his early professional career creating and administering programs aimed at fostering economic development in low-income neighborhoods and communities. By the mid-1980s, Smith’s interest had turned to public administration. He would eventually become a city-county manager, a banker, and a state cabinet official. He currently works as a university professor and is the founding chief executive officer of a statewide education reform organization.  

I cannot pinpoint with certainty the moment in time
when I discovered my passion for poetry
or when poetry found me.
Since the journey toward individuation began,
poetry has been my one true constant.
My driving measure of success has simply been
how good a poet I can be. 
All other achievement has been incidental.


Other Experience

  • Founding Chief Executive Officer, Education’s Next Horizon (2007 – Present)
  • Adjunct Instructor, Southern University Department of English (2011 – Present)
  • Secretary of Labor, Appointed by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (2004-2007); led the recovery of the state’s unemployment and workforce training systems in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  • Vice-President, Government and Non-Profit Banking, Chase Bank (1998-2003)
  • Assistant City Manager, City of Tallahassee, Florida (1997-1998)
  • Chief Administrative Officer, Lafayette Consolidated Government and Lafayette Parish Government (1989-1997); led the transition planning and implementation of the consolidation of Lafayette Parish and the City of Lafayette.
  • Undersecretary of Labor, Appointed by Governor Buddy Roemer, State of Louisiana (1988-1989)

Other Education

  • Master of Business Administration, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Bachelor of Science, Accounting, McNeese State University
  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology, McNeese State University