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  • Wanted: Poet well-versed in the language   
    Monday, June 20 2005 @ 04:09 AM
    Contributed by: Admin

    Carrboro needs a new poet laureate. An article by Jamie McGee. (Also see

    Wanted: Poet well-versed in the language

    By Jamie McGee : The Herald-Sun
    May 28, 2005 : 6:52 pm ET

    CARRBORO -- Like couplets?

    Like free verse or enjoy rhyming words? Know what iambic pentameter is?

    Then Carrboro may be looking for you, but you'll have big shoes to fill.

    The town's poet laureate is stepping aside. Patrick Herron, Carrboro's 2003 and 2004 poet laureate and founder of the Carrboro Poetry Festival, is leaving his post but will select his own replacement for the position through a blind judging process.

    Carrboro, which is the only town in North Carolina with a poet laureate, seeks a resident who not only "has the ability to write good poetry, but also has the willingness and enthusiasm to contribute as poet laureate to the community," Herron said.

    Applicants are asked to write one poem, which the recipient will read at the annual Independence Day celebration at Town Hall.

    Jackie Helvey, a member of the Carrboro Arts Committee, said Herron has exceeded any original expectations for the Poet Laureate position, which former town Alderman Jay Bryan proposed in 2002.

    "We were looking for someone who would write a couple of poems," she said. "When we got Patrick, we got much more than we bargained for. He had big ideas."

    Herron, a UNC graduate student, created the annual poetry festival that took place last weekend. This year's event included readings from 39 poets, some local and some who traveled across the nation to read.

    Creating the event, Herron said, was a gratifying experience, and the enthusiasm from the audience made it all worthwhile.

    "People are wowed," he said. "They tell me, 'I didn't know poetry was so cool.' "

    While the laureate is only required to write poems for the community, Herron said he hopes his replacement will find other ways to cultivate interest in poetry. "The door is open," he said.

    Herron, 33, was chosen in 2003 by Carrboro's first poet laureate, Kate Lovelady. He and the arts committee decided he should keep the position for a second year to help guide the festival.

    Although his tenure as laureate will be ending, Herron will continue to organize the event and plans to organize a foundation to strengthen the local literary community.

    Helvey encourages any local poets to apply as Herron's successor. There are no requirements on length or theme of the submitted poem nor on writer's experience.

    Fifteen to 20 residents applied for the post in 2003, but Helvey anticipates there will be many more this time around because of Herron's work and the interest he has sparked in local writers.

    Along with the application, the arts committee wants two unsigned copies of an original poem. The deadline for applying is June 25, and applicants must be residents of Carrboro.

    2005 The Durham Herald Company

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