Poetry festival provides home for readers, artists

Monday, June 20 2005 @ 04:05 AM

Contributed by: Admin

An article from the May 22, 2005 edition of the Durham Herald-Sun by Carolyn Norton

By Carolyn Norton : The Herald-Sun
May 22, 2005 : 6:21 pm ET

CARRBORO -- Carrboro Poet Laureate Patrick Herron had a mission for his tiny town.

Despite having lived here for 16 years, he knew of no network, no community so to speak, of poets who gathered regularly to read.

"I said, 'Hell, I'll make one myself,' " said Herron, who just completed work on his fifth book.

That was two years ago. This weekend, Herron saw the fruits of his effort during the second Carrboro International Poetry Festival, an event featuring two full afternoons of readings by 39 poets.

"I wanted to show people that poetry is not boring," Herron, a graduate student at UNC, said. "You can have some pretty damn good poetry. And you can enjoy it."

So two years ago, Herron gathered writers -- both local and not -- for a festival in Carrboro.

Since then, Herron said, the local poetry scene has exploded, with e-mail distributions and discussion groups. Many of the members, he said, he met at last year's festival, which featured 36 writers.

Sunday, the second day of the festival, included readings from Herron himself. Poets from as far as Austin, Texas, and Hoboken, N.J., came to read on the stage at the Carrboro Century Center.

Hristo Ivanovski of Durham planned to read poetry he wrote about living in Macedonia. The Duke University Fulbright Scholar and author of two books of poetry also planned to read some pieces about love he wrote while living in Durham.

"I like it very much," he said of the atmosphere in Carrboro. "Today, I am part of this family in Carrboro."

As Amy Carroll read from her series of poems titled "Secession," the audience listened silently.

Carroll read loudly, quickly, pausing to emphasize rhymes such as "hypocrisy" and "aristocracy."

"I declare I secede," finished Carroll, who just received her Ph.D. from Duke. Her poetry has been published in various journals.

During the festival, attendees sat rapt in folding chairs as the poets read for about 15 minutes each. During breaks, they perused books published by local presses.

Bruce Lader, a poet himself, took notes on the publishers that were represented. He and his wife, Renata, said they liked hearing their colleagues read.

"It's something different. You see different styles, different subjects," Renata Lader said. "Just to be in this group of writers, people who have been published."

Sharmin Mirman, a Carrboro novelist, also came to the festival to see other writers.

"It's a very solitary thing to write," she said. "It's inspiring to be here, and see others who have finished something and are up there."

2005 The Durham Herald Company

Carrboro Poetry Festival