Festival of Words will present a poetry reading and open mic featuring John Warner Smith and Rita Marks at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nunu’s, 1510 Bayou Courtableau Highway, Arnaudville.

Smith is a former Poet Laureate of Louisiana and Rita Marks is a storyteller.

The 5-Mile Café will sell beverages and appetizers. The evening will also include an open mic of literature, music and stories as well as the group poem, in which everyone is invited to share a line. 

Smith has published five collections of poetry, most recently "Our Shut Eyes" (MadHat Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals. Smith is a 2020 Poets Laureate Fellow of the Academy of American Poets and is winner of the 2019 Linda Hodge Bromberg Literary Award. Smith’s novella, "For All Those Men," will be published by UL Press this summer. He recently signed a contract with 2Leaf Press for the release of his sixth collection of poetry. A Cave Canem Fellow, Smith earned his master's in creative writing at the University of New Orleans. His poetry is available at johnwarnersmith.com.

Cecilia native Marks has been a seminal figure at the NUNU collective, where she celebrates her Creole heritage. She will tell a story about seven pieces of meat. 

Guests are welcome to bring their own poems, songs or stories for the open mic. The free, community event is suitable for all ages.

Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.