Ellie Kinnaird’s love of poetry began in high school when she was introduced to the English “greats.” She tried her own derivative versions, including an imitation of Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.” While Ellie thought her poem was pretty good, not having a clue of a what a mistress was (this was 1948 when kids were still innocent), the teacher wrote that she was shocked. Thus ended Ellie’s poetry career. Ellie continued with a minor in English at Carleton College. But music prevailed, and she earned a master’s degree in music from the University of North Carolina and finally her love of the law led to a J.D. from North Carolina Central University. In 1987, Ellie was elected mayor of Carrboro, serving with Jay Bryan (who was the poet laureate of Carrboro from 2010 to 2013). Ellie is probably the only politician to have commissioned a poem for her campaign; Jaki Shelton Green, Piedmont laureate and member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, wrote the poem. Ellie served in the North Carolina Senate, where she proudly announced on the Senate floor each appointment of a poet laureate anywhere in North Carolina, many of which were created following Carrboro’s example. Ellie is the recipient of numerous awards, none for her poetry.
Participation at the 2015 West End Poetry Festival
- Favorite Poems from the Community | Saturday, October 17 | 1:30 to 2:45 pm | Century Center
For a full schedule and descriptions of all sessions, see the festival schedule.