The West End Poetry Festival expands to four days in 2017, running October 18 through 21—Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon and evening. All events are free and open to the public. The detailed schedule is included below.
For information about the locations and free parking, see our Getting to the Festival page.
Wednesday, October 18 | starts at 6:30 pm | The Speakeasy at Tyler’s in Downtown Carrboro
The first night of the festival features a poets’ reception (open to all), poetry readings, and a screening of the documentary film Truth Underground about three spoken word poets (CJ Suitt, Kamaya Martin, and Jeremy Berggren), their struggles, their accomplishments, and the power of poetry.
Thursday, October 19 | starts at 6:30 pm | 2nd Wind in Downtown Carrboro
Emceed by Paul Richmond, beat poet laureate of Massachusetts, the second evening includes over 30 poets reading at a curated open mic and a poetry showcase with mahaloJazz (Alison Weiner on keyboards, legendary Beverly Botsford on multiple percussion, and Robbie Link pounding the bass). When the dust settles, all the remaining poets in the room will circle up for mic time, one poem at a time, until the barman pitches us out the door. Be there, or be square. Participants include the following poets:
- Joan Barasovska
- Abigail Browning
- Sara Claytor
- Kristen Cox
- Ralph Earle
- Ann Ehringhaus
- Leah Elliott
- Joanne Kennedy Frazer
- Susan Adler George
- Aruna Gurumurthy
- Mimi Herman
- Maura High
- Candace Howze
- Pat Jobe
- Kai Love
- Sam Love
- Tim Mattimoe
- Lynda Myers
- Florence Nash
- Alice Osborn
- Gary Phillips
- Paul Richmond
- Danielle C. Robinson
- Jane Seitel
- Susan Spalt
- J. Delaney Watson
- Gideon Young
Friday, October 20 | 6:30 to 8:30 pm | Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill
The festival’s third evening includes a reception with hors d’oeuvres and wine, readings by poets, and time for book signing and socializing.
Saturday, October 21 | noon to 8:30 pm | Century Center in Downtown Carrboro
Reading by and Discussion with Jaki Shelton Green | noon to 1 pm
Jaki Shelton Green will read from her own work and share from her thoughts and experiences. The prodigious list of awards and honors held by this North Carolina native includes induction into the state’s Literary Hall of Fame in 2014, selection as the inaugural Piedmont Laureate in 2009, a 2007 Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina, and a 2003 North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor for significant contributions to the state and nation in fine art, literature, public service, and science. Her publications include Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Blue Opal (a play), and Feeding the Light.
A Workshop with Jaki Shelton Green | 1:15 to 2:15 pm
Jaki Shelton Green will lead a poetry workshop, open to all. Green has taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations.
The Poetry of Resistance | 2:30 to 4 pm
Poets participating in this panel will share poems and provide perspectives on the role of poetry in resistance to many things, from politics to social norms and more.
The Poetics of Migration | 4:15 to 5:45 pm
This panel will focus on how immigration and migration impact what poets write and how what poets write can impact immigration and migration. Participants include the following:
Reception | 6 to 6:59 pm
Eat, drink, and visit with poets and poetry lovers.
Finale Readings | 7 to 8:30 pm
Gary Phillips, Carrboro poet laureate, will read before Tyree Daye, whose River Hymns won the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, closes the festival with a reading. There will be time for questions from the audience and signing books.