News Flash

Carrboro Town News

Posted on: October 24, 2023

West End Poetry Festival Recap and Community Poem

Poets laureate

CARRBORO, N.C. -- The West End Poetry Festival Poetry once again illustrated the power of poetry as a uniting force, expressing common human experiences – a vital force for connection in difficult times. 

Carrboro’s festival venues saw high participation in a variety of events over three days -- Oct. 19-21! There were small writing groups and intimate discussions at The Arts Center, an open mic night at Luna Rotisserie and Taproom; a youth workshop with NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green; conversations with writers, readings by poets laureates and a writing seminar at the Carrboro Century Center; and a poetry slam at Steel String Brewery on Saturday night.

Many thanks to the poets laureate who gathered for a photo following their readings at the West End Poetry Festival 2023 in Carrboro, pictured here are (l-r) Cortland Gilliam (Chapel Hill), Liza Wolff-Francis (Carrboro), DJ Rogers (Durham), Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils, Jaki Shelton Green (North Carolina), Dasan Ahanu (Piedmont), and Jay Ward (Charlotte).

Shout-out to those who entertained the audience at the Poetry Slam -- Poetic Zae, Jordan Bailey, Asma, Megan Blackwood, Lee and Ashley Lumpkin – with thanks to Dasan Ahanu for emceeing. 

The West End Poetry Festival is sponsored by the Town of Carrboro and is planned by the Carrboro Poets Council (currently comprised of Carrboro Poet Laureate Liza Wolff-Francis, Gideon Young, Susan Spalt, Jay Bryan, Fred Joiner, Abigail Browning, Chad Knuth and Paul Jones) with the assistance of the staff of Carrboro’s Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department and the support of the Carrboro Arts Committee and the Carrboro Tourism Development Authority.

  • Poetry is celebrated year-round in Carrboro, and more poetry events are coming up! Learn more at https://www.carrboronc.gov/calendar.aspx?CID=14,46 
  • Read the community poem "Community: Carrboro style" developed in collaborative style from contributors who shared words about “community.”   See below! 

Poets laureate


Poetry Slam

Community: Carrboro style

Greetings friends on a stroll down Weaver Street
weaving our way through parks and gardens, gorgeous and neat
playing tennis with friends and family
all the while, an underlying anguish
over the Israel-Palestine [conflict],
but I hope I am mistaken

and our higher selves rebel toward unity.
I slow at the crosswalk, mouth open to pinking sky,
nothing is in my mind right now. 
I gaze at the moon, and it is younger than I am.

In October Carrboro slows down for poetry 
as the festival days unfold like a poem.

Bipolar weather, no better hug than sweaters.
Days get longer, light dims the day,
sun shaded from full moon’s glory,
jealous with drawing rays hiding away
waiting to find the authentic and heartfelt.

We gather at the elm, we listen to the tree and to one another
and the squirrels skittering as they take their exercise
beside the red and silver hydrants, statuesque, almost classical.

We offer tribute to our tributaries: Morgan, New Hope, and Booker Creeks – 
the water we depend on, that flows through all of us.
Festival of verse sparked another upstream.
Speak peace, join our voices for peace for all people in the Middle East. 

Hear these words as our words, as all we need to say to each other, 
as how we need to remember to be together, listening to our poetry. 

Let's all gather by the elm, let's speak, 
let's listen to the tree and to one another.
We join words together in boxes
from which we stand and speak.

I'm no "transient" when out in Carrboro.
Isn't that it, a community?
I have some currency of fame here.

If you listen closely, you may hear the chairs 
outside Weaver Street market speak their 
many colors- listen- as they join us together 
for coffee chitchat and small bites of banter- 
this palette of voices– these shades of poetry.  

Words fly into town,
Plant poems in fertile minds—
Speak up Carrboro!

Poetry Workshop

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