Schedule of Events

The West End Poetry Festival expands to four days in 2018, running October 17 through 20—Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon and evening. All events are free and open to the public.

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

Wednesday, October 17 | starts at 6:30 pm | Johnny’s on West Main St.

The first night of the festival features a poets’ reception (open to all), poetry readings, and an ice cream social. There will be time for socializing and connecting with this year’s participants.

Thursday, October 18 | starts at 6:30 pm | The Station Downtown Carrboro

The second evening will host the reprisal of the curated open mic featuring over 50 poets. These poets come from diverse regions, cultural backgrounds, and ideologies. The day will proceed with all of the remaining poets in the room. Are you ready for beautiful readings from outstanding poets? Participants include the following:

  • To be announced

Friday, October 19 | starts at 6:30 | Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill

Jaki Shelton Green, first African American and third woman to be North Carolina’s Poet Laureate will start the day off. She holds numerous prestigious awards and honors which includes induction into the state’s Literary Hall of Fame in 2014, selection as the inaugural Piedmont Laureate in 2009, a 2007 Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina, and a 2003 North Carolina Award.

Poet Laureate of Hillsborough, William Davis and Lauren Moseley, author of Big Windows(2018) will also share their work with the public. It is a real treat to have them set to read for the third day of this year’s festival.

Full cheese and wine reception

Eat, drink (there will be other non-alcoholic drinks provided), and visit with poets and poetry lovers.

Saturday, October 20 | noon to 8:30 pm | Century Center in Downtown Carrboro

Reading with Sandra Beasley | noon

Sandra Beasley opens the final day of celebrations with her work. Beasley is the author of several books, including Theories of Falling (2008), I was the Jukebox (2010), and Don’t kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life(2011), and Count the waves (2015). This Virginia native also has a prodigious list of awards under her name including the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, 2009 Friends of Poetry Prize form the Poetry Foundation, 2015 Cavafy Prize from Poetry International.

  • Sandra Beasley

A workshop with Sandra Beasley

Leading a workshop after reading her work, Sandra Beasley will share her knowledge with the public. Beasley received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the University of Mississippi.

  • Sandra Beasley

Panel on intersections

The afternoon will be centered around this year’s theme, intersections. There will be a panel of carefully selected poets speaking. These participants include:

Finale readings and conversation

This year’s festival and will conclude with readings and conversation from three significant Arab women poets. Being that this year’s theme is on intersections, Ruth Awad, Shadab Zest Hashmi, and Fatima Abdullah will provide perspectives on the topic. They will also read some of their fantastic work and engage in conversation with the public. Come give these amazing poets a warm welcome!

  • Fatima Abdullah
  • Ruth Awad
  • Shadab Zest Hashmi