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Festival of Words is on the road, holding readings in different locations.  This month’s event takes place in Arnaudville! 

On Wednesday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m., Festival of Words hosts a poetry reading and Open Mic at Nunu’s, 1510 Bayou Courtableau Hwy, Arnaudville, LA.  The evening features former poet laureate John Warner Smith and storyteller Rita Marks.  The 5-Mile Café will have refreshing beverages and delicious appetizers for sale.  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.  Come to enjoy and share.

John Warner Smith is a former Poet Laureate of Louisiana. He 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 MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans. His poetry can be found at

John Warner Smith

Joy Rita Marks was born in Cecilia, Louisiana on June 14th, 1936 to French speaking tenant farmers Ella and George Dautreul. Her father died when she was only 12 leaving behind 5 kids living at home, 11 kids total.  Her early years were spent picking cotton and harvesting produce. She spoke only Creole French when she began attending school. She married Elridge “NUNU” Marks in 1954. Raised 6 kids and is grandmother to 16 and 28 great grandchildren and 1 great great-grandkid and co-parents 5 fur babies. She has been a seminal figure at the NUNU collective where she celebrates her Creole heritage.  She will tell a story about 7 pieces of meat.

Joy Rita Marks

Guests are welcome to bring their own poems, songs or stories for the open mic. Refreshments will be available.  This free, community event is suitable for all ages and is sponsored by the Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective in partnership (a 14-year connection) with Nunu’s Arts and Culture Collective. 

WHAT: John Warner Smith & Rita Marks plus open mic 
DATE: Wednesday, May 25, 2022  TIME:            7 to 9 p.m. 
WHERE:  1510 Bayou Courtableau Hwy, Arnaudville, LA 
CONTACT:  Martha Garner, or 337-804-2482