Poet Laureate Hank Stewart
If you have ever read the work of inspirational speaker and poet, Hank Stewart, then you might find it hard to believe that this profoundly talented writer did not scribe his first poem until May of 1991.
Stewart, a published writer who has been called a catalyst for action and a messenger of hope, considers spirituality, history and love as his major influences for delving into the world of literature. "My (life) experiences have had a great influence on the poetry... Poetry has helped me to deal with many issues," says Hank, who released his first book titled, "The Answer" in 1993.
"The Answer", a collection of poetry, which expressed the issues of love, unity and religion, uniquely introduced Stewart as a conscious writer among a culture of literary enthusiast. Shortly thereafter, Hank followed up his first work with a second book fittingly titled, "Second Chance" which was written to reveal the Savior to lost souls and to rejuvenate the Christian experience. In 1996, Hank wrote his third book, "Be Still and Know..." a religiously conscious collection of works focusing on the power of prayer and the importance of spiritual guidance. Hank collaborated with Kendra Norman-Bellamy to craft the nationally published Three Fifty-Seven A.M. novel in 2007, which is loosely based on the popular romantic poem 357. It is a dramatic and inspirational tale of love, betrayal, forgiveness and power of prayer.
A devoted Christian, Hank believes that a firm spiritual guidance can help an individual remain true to the mission of life and success. Therefore, he incorporates this belief in his poetry by encouraging people to move to new emotional heights and spiritual levels.
"I think conscious poetry is important... It documents history. It's a message to people who don't always have a chance to listen to long sermons. If you look back over time poetry has made its way into every aspect of life..." In 1997, Stewart released a special edition of poems in his book, "Daydreaming About You", which was preceded by, "Stay Focused".
With the popularity of the merging of poetry and jazz within the literary culture, Stewart soon began to transform his written work into "Spoken Word" poetry, which earned him a regular guest spot on the "Quiet Storm", a weekly radio broadcasting show highlighting talented poetry and jazz artists on one of Atlanta's top radio stations, V-103.
Hank Stewart's poetry has awarded him many opportunities including working on programs with prominent officials such as former Vice President, Al Gore and contributing a piece honoring the mother of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks with a special poetry dedication. Mr. Stewart has recited his works for Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Atlanta Former Mayor Shirley Franklin, late Rev. Hosea Williams and Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. He also performed for Ruby Dee, late Johnny Cochran, Harry Belafonte, Xernona Clayton and Ambassador Andrew Young just to name a few.
Hank has performed at the Trumpet Awards and Essence Music Festival. He has written and performed commercials for the McDonald Corporation called "365 BLACK". He has also written and performed African American poetic rendition commercials for Fox 5 Atlanta which resulted in the winning of the 2007 Emmy, Promax and Gabby awards. He is the recipient of the Man of Distinction Award for Who's Who Award for Who's Who in Black Atlanta & Distinctive Men Award. Mr. Stewart's community service dedication has also afforded him many prestigious accolades such as the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Award.
Hank is the founder of "Walk Against the Call" which is an awareness walk to prevent breast cancer raising more than $100,000. He is also the founder of the Annual White Linen Affair, Hot Chocolate, Love Jones Sunday's and Five Men on a Stool. Hank's strong presence in the community afforded him the opportunity to register 15,000 voters.
As a result of his love for the community and specifically the youth, Hank Stewart co-founded with Gwendolyn Mason, a youth leadership development foundation focused on strengthening our children whole, mind, body and soul. The foundation has impacted more than 10,000 youth over the course of its existence and has made significant changes to our youth’s health & financial wellness, education, social and community involvement.
Always looking to advance his career to the next level, Stewart considers his plight as an author to inspire people to achieve maximum success and to touch as many lives as possible with a message of spirituality, love and history. "I want to leave a positive legacy, be it spiritual, love or history... I want people to think,' whatever Hank Stewart wrote about touched me."