Fete de la poésie ce week-end

Are there any other municipalities in North Carolina that value and promote the arts like Carrboro does? The Fete de la Musique, more galleries per capita than Chapel Hill, the legendary Cat's Cradle, hosting challenging and inspiring artworks in town facilities, free wireless for the community... these things don't just make Carrboro fun, they are an economic engine for the town by bringing folks to downtown businesses and making Carrboro an attractive place to live for many people.

In fact, just last week I was talking to a friend who owns a longstanding, but often-struggling, business on West Franklin Street. He wonders why Chapel Hill doesn't support the arts like Carrboro does. He is trying promote the local artists through his business and needs help from the community to make it work financially.

So anyway, of course Carrboro is also the place that established the position of Poet Laureate in 2002. The current official poet came into office with an ambitious plan for an annual poetry festival to bring local and far away poets together for a weekend of reading and listening. This year's second annual Carrboro Poetry Festival has moved to a bigger venue (The Century Center) due last year's success.

The schedule has poets lined up from noon to 9 pm on Saturday, and from noon to 6 pm on Sunday. I ain't no connoisseur (hell, I don't even speak French), but I am especially looking forward to hearing from the many local poets speaking such as Daniel Wideman, Dasan Ahanu, Evie Shockley, Hristo Ivanovski, Joanna Catherine Scott, Julian Semilian, Ken Rumble, Paul Jones (yes, that Paul Jones), Randall Williams, Sue Soltis, Tanya Olson, Tessa Joseph, Todd Sandvik, and Tony Tost.

As the organizer/laureate says in this week's Indy "there are few places that could support this festival."



Having three young ones, I don't get out to these events as much as I'd like. We usually make annual pilgrimages to the 4th of July and Halloween festivals.

But I love knowing these things are going on. That's why I love Carrboro.

I've got to plug my favorite. The Carrboro Music Festival is by the far the best town-sponsored event I've attended anywhere. It is well-attended, but I'm surprised it is not mobbed. It deserves to be. Maybe the crowd is just spread out among the many venues. The biggest challenge is deciding which performers you will see, and which you will have to miss, because there is so much going on simultaneously. It's a pure blast. Sunday, September 25th. Put it on your calendar.

I'm one of those soon to be involuntarily swallowed up by Carrboro, and I'm ferociously holding onto my grudge. My neighbors and I rarely go downtown, and when we finally get voting rights in a few years, we might demonstrate our unwillingness to spend our tax dollars on such frivolities. Then we'll say we told you so.

I must admit though, I buy granola at Weaver Street Market, and the kids like to play under the tree. Maybe in a few years I'll be hula-hooping while wearing a tie-die T-shirt.

More than that, Charlie...

I do believe you'll be ready to graduate to a drum circle. (chuckle).

Vraiement, j'ai des oreilles battues de ce bave constant disant que Carrboro est le " Paris du Piedmont".

You know, when I was young and irresponsible( not that long ago I might add), I bought a really amazing pair of $700 shoes. I couldn't pay my rent, but everybody commented on the utter fabulousness of my shoes. None of them gave me any rent money though.

A city government should be in the business of providing things like adequate fire and police services. Sidewalks are nice, too. With the town proposing a sales tax on items like food and medicine to meet its financial needs, a poetry festival seems a lot like $700 shoes.

Since it primarily benefits downtown Carrboro retailers, shouldn't they be paying some sort of event levy to pay for these festivals. By asking some people to put their money up to fund "the arts", we could find out exactly how much Carrboro does support the arts, not just the city council, who spend other people's money.

I did, after all, have to pay for my own shoes.

I must admit, Ruby, for all your cheerleading for Carrboro, I was surprised to find out that you live in dreary old Chapel Hill.

Si tu demande les magasins doit participer avec les finances pour les arts, il n'y aurait pas de fête.

Donc, Carrboro ne supporte pas des arts autant que Mlle Ruby le croit.

For those of us who don't remember our high school french, this website translates Katrina's comment "Vraiement, j'ai des oreilles battues de ce bave constant disant que Carrboro est le ” Paris du Piedmont”. "


"Truly, I have ears beaten of this drools constant saying that Carrboro is the ” Paris of the Piedmont”. "

For those interested, the phrase is a colloquialism which most closely translated would mean " Really, I'm sick to death of hearing this nonsense about how Carrboro is the Paris of the Piedmont", which I assumed Ruby was alluding to by titling her post in French.

I've lived in Paris, I know Paris, and Carrboro, you're no Paris...borrowing from the eloquent Texan Senator, Lloyd Bensen.

Mais, J'ai habite au Montreal. Je connais Montreal. Carrboro, vous etes vraiment comme Montreal.

(except you shut down at 1:00 am)

Thank you Ruby for taking the time to tell folks about how great a cultural center Carrboro is. With the Music Festival and now the Poetry Festival, this town's hard to beat.

With the poetry festival, a wacked-out personal dream of mine is inching, no, screaming towards reality. ("Be careful what you wish for.") I figured Carrboro could be a center for "innovative" writing and in fact that what has been becoming true over the last 18 months, since the Poets Against The Shrub reading I organized at Temple Ball in October 2003, where I met poets Evie Shockley, Joe Donahue, and Ken Rumble for the first time. Ken brought his Winston-Salem-based reading series here right around the same time, a group of local poets called the Lucifer Poets formed, and then the first po-fest came. Then a Dutch journal known for bringing the best in avant -garde poetry to Holland translated two Carrboro poets in back-to-back issues. Now the beast is loose and known from Hong Kong to Skopje.

The buzz is crazy. An influential avant-garde playwright from NYC and all-around scenester declared Carrboro the hottest center for writers in the country, in terms of activity and provocation. So lil' ol' Carrboro need no longer be merely the center for third-rate painters and bands without record deals; now we can be home to impoverished weirdo poets unable to afford the local housing market except as renters. Poets are migrating here by the bikeload. Weeee!

For the record, both this year's and last year's Carrboro Poetry Festival were held in Century Hall. It's been my goal to keep the festival the same size while improving it. So hopefully we will remain at the Century Center.


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