Carrboro’s Premier Poetry Event

Our October 15 & 16, 2021 online and interactive events celebrating “The United Poetry Service: Poetry of the People,” designed to help keep both poetry alive and everyone safe were a big success. Thanks to all who made it out.


Friday 10/15, 7–8:30pm ET – Zoom Poetry Writing Workshop and poetry reading with Crystal Simone Smith

Crystal Simone Smith

Here is the workshop pdf.

In this interactive workshop, take your poetry to the next level with Crystal Simone Smith. She will also be sharing a poem.

Constraint and Freedom: Re-Envisioning Form

When we undertake the task of writing a poem we first consider form. Most contemporary poets slant heavily towards free verse as fixed forms require particular rules. Rather we are writing a poem for self-expression or as a political gesture, forms can feel constraining.  In this workshop, we will consider and examine the liberating and universal qualities of form. We will explore a range of traditional and experimental forms with the goal of re-envisioning our collaborations with structure. Poets of all levels of experience are welcome!


Saturday 10/16

A mask is requested for all outdoor activities to keep everyone safe.*

3–4:45pm ET – Poetry in the Round

Pictured here is Poetry in the Round at Carrboro Day, 2019, in the Boardroom at Carrboro Town Hall

Join us at the Carrboro Town Commons for an open mic, featuring YOU!

Former Carrboro Poet Laureate Gary Phillips will host as we share one poem per person traveling around the poet’s circle.

Thanks to all who participated in the 2021 Community Poem: United Poetry Service

Last year we debuted the chance for our community to participate in writing a collective poem. This year, we’ve brought it back, requesting lines sparked by the words “United,” “Poetry,” and “Service.”

Read the 2021 Community Poem: United Poetry Service

Poet Laureates

Six Poet Laureates will be reading live at Carrboro Town Commons and we’ll also be featuring YouTube videos online, hosted by Poets Council Member Gideon Young.

  • William Davis, former Poet Laureate of Hillsborough
  • Patrick Herron, Carrboro Poetry Festival Founder, former Poet Laureate of Carrboro
  • Fred Joiner, Poet Laureate of Carrboro
  • Gary Phillips, former Poet Laureate of Carrboro
  • Celisa Steele, former Poet Laureate of Carrboro
  • CJ Suitt, Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill

Check out their bios.

View past Poet Laureates videos here:

Gideon Young introduces past Poet Laureates

The Carrboro Poets Council is Abigail Browning, Jay Bryan, Maura High, Paul Jones, Gary Phillips, Susan Spalt, Gideon Young, and Carrboro Poet Laureate Fred Joiner.

This event is funded by the Carrboro Tourism Development Authority and the Town of Carrboro and organized by the Carrboro Poets Council with the assistance of the staff of the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department of the Town of Carrboro.

* Covid Policy: The West End Poetry Festival welcomes you to our hybrid event.  We have designed the festival to be an event where you can share poems–and nothing else!

The following COVID practices will be observed:

Attendees all events will be spaced 6 feet apart and must be masked.

Poets reading in Poetry in the Round will be spaced approximately 6 feet apart and must be masked except when they are reading.

Hand sanitizer, masks and mike condoms will be available at the festival.

In the case of inclement weather the festival will move to the Century Center.  Attendance will be limited to 75 and participants will be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Individuals experiencing any symptoms, such as fever, cough, headache, are asked to stay home.