2015 West End Poetry Festival

Schedule of Events

The festival will kickoff the evening of Friday, October 16, 2015, and continue the afternoon and evening of Saturday, October 17, 2015. The detailed schedule, subject to adjustment, is included below. All events are free and open to the public.

Click the names for bios and photos.

For information about the locations and free parking, see our Getting to the Festival page.

Friday, October 16 | 6:30 to 8:30 pm | Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill

Opening Celebration | 6:30 to 8:30 pm

The opening celebration will include a reception with hors d’oeuvres and wine, readings, and time for book signing and socializing. Introduced by Celisa Steele, five poets will read from their own work.

Saturday, October 17 | noon to 8:30 pm | Century Center in Downtown Carrboro

The Intersection of Poetry and Politics | noon to 1:15 pm

Reginald Dwayne Betts will share his own work and discuss the intersection of his poems and poetry in general with politics, contextualizing his art with and apart from his life. He will invite questions from the audience. His new collection, Bastards of the Reagan Era, is due out this fall. Celisa Steele will welcome attendees and introduce Reginald Dwayne Betts.

Favorite Poems from the Community | 1:30 to 2:45 pm

Poetry isn’t just for poets, and we prove it with this panel of community members who don’t identify as poets but who appreciate poetry. Introduced by Jay Bryan, panelists will share a poem favorite poem and talk about why that poem in particular and poetry in general matters to them.

Celebration, Milestones, and Marking Time in Poetry | 3 to 4:15 pm

Because 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Carrboro’s poetry festival, poets participating in this panel will share from their own work that speaks to the themes of celebration, milestones, and marking time. A variety of poets will yield a variety of perspectives on one or more of the themes—some poems may deal with milestones that are not to be celebrated; others may celebrate the quotidian, the non-milestones of daily living. Susan Spalt will facilitate this panel.

[Workshop for High-School-Age Poets] Monstrous Masks: Experimenting with Persona in Poetry | 3 to 4:15 pm

Persona, meaning mask in Latin, can offer creative writers rich possibilities to imagine, inhabit, and explore the fictional voice of someone who might at first seem strange, bizarre, or a little frightening. In this workshop, targeted to high-school-age poets and led by Ansel Elkins (whose debut collection, Blue Yodel, won the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2014), participants will talk about some famous monsters, outcasts, and so-called “freaks of nature” and explore ways to use the poetic technique of dramatic monologue to inhabit a perspective different from their own and write poems from these “monstrous” masks. For more about the workshop and to pre-register (space is limited!), see the full workshop description.

Open Mic | 4:30 to 5:45 pm

Sign up between 12:00 and 4:30 for a chance to read a single poem, no longer than three minutes. Open mic will be facilitated by Maura High.

Reception | 6 to 6:59 pm

Eat, drink, and visit with poets and poetry lovers.

Finale Readings | 7 to 8:30 pm

Celisa Steele, the current poet laureate, will read briefly before Ansel Elkins (whose debut collection, Blue Yodel, won the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2014) closes the festival with a reading, leaving time for questions from the audience and signing books. Abigail Browning will introduce the poets.