West End Poetry Festival in Carrboro
by Mimi Montgomery
You don’t have to be an experienced wordsmith to attend the West End Poetry Festival in Carrboro. Hosted October 16 and 17 by the Carrboro Poets Council, the gathering marks the 10th anniversary of the festival, and will feature poetry readings, workshops, an open mic, and exhibits from publishers. Participating poets and facilitators include Ansel Elkins, Michael Gaspeny, Maura High, Tsitsi Jaji, Terry L. Kennedy, Susan Spalt, L. Lamar Wilson, and Celisa Steele. “We’re excited,” says Steele, the Carrboro Poet Laureate and a member of the Poets Council. “We really try to have the festival bring together a diverse group of folks, and the poets so far represent a good range of styles, points in career, and backgrounds.” To give you a preview of the weekend’s literary greatness, we’ve included two poems from Steele and Ansel Elkins, both of whom will be at the event.
Autobiography of Eve
by Ansel Elkins
Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.
-Reprinted from Blue Yodel by Ansel Elkins with
permission from Yale University Press-
To a Son on the Verge of Divorce
by Celisa Steele
The first time you really cried—
not I’m hungry or I’m tired
but I’m hurt—I’d snapped
the car seat buckle shut,
your perfect two-month-old skin
caught in the plastic jaws. I can still see
the shock and inscrutable thoughts
in your eyes. Then a wail, a keening akin
to the lament of all the centuries’ forlorn,
the orphaned, the widowed and wounded.
with such conviction
still. As if the worst
that can be done
is done. As though the heart
weren’t a mutt chained
in the muddy yard
of another midnight,
where it barks and howls
until, one day, we have no choice
but to cut it free.
-Reprinted from Broad River Review-
For more information on the festival, visit westendpoetryfestival.org