The West End Poetry Festival is sponsored by the Town of Carrboro and is planned by the Carrboro Poets Council (currently comprised of Abigail Browning, Jay Bryan, Maura High, Carrboro Poet Laureate Fred Joiner, Paul Jones, Gary Phillips, Susan Spalt, and Gideon Young), with the assistance of Jackie Helvey and the staff of Carrboro’s Recreation and Parks Department and the support of the Carrboro Arts Committee.
Carrboro held its first poetry festival, organized by then Carrboro Poet Laureate Patrick Herron, in 2005.
Since 2005, many poets from North Carolina and beyond have participated. Participants have included finalists for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; winners of the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Los Angeles Book Prize, the Oregon Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize; recipients of fellowships Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; and too many other accolades to easily list here.
Participants have also included poets at the beginning of their writing career with few, if any, publishing credits. The festival aims to be broadly representative of poets and poetry.