Couplets: Poets in Dialogue is a new London Open Mic Poetry series presented by Chapters. It will be hosted the third Friday of every month, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at Chapters (South) in London, ON (1037 Wellington Road).
If you want to measure the true value of a poetry reading—for the audience and for the readers themselves—you should aim your valuometer at what happens after the final round of applause: the informal Q&As, the handshakes and book signings, congratulations and introductions, the exchange of email addresses, phone numbers, or Twitter handles, the too-sincere compliments, the pinball machine of playful arguments, the two or three poets ‘accidentally’ holding court.
Couplets: Poets in Dialogue is an attempt to bring some of this value—the affirmation of community, the promise of new connection—into the reading itself, to make it the focus of the event and to make it more available to those poetry fans who don’t write themselves.
Each ‘episode’ of Couplets will feature a pair of London poets: an established ‘anchor’ poet, drawn from the list of former featured readers at London Open Mic Poetry Night, and a younger or earlier-career ‘wildcard’ poet. A month in advance, the anchor and wildcard will begin collaborating on their evening of alternating readings, response poems, duets, live interview, live writing exercises, live argument, and general poetic tennis (net optional). The episode will be the culmination of this collaboration, a unique performance sparking in the gap between two poetic minds.
It’s my hope that no two Couplets episodes will be alike—but that each will be one part traditional poetry reading, one part interview, one part comedy podcast, one part informal mentorship, and maybe half a measure audience heckling.
~ Andy Verboom, organizer of Couplets: Poets in Dialogue Reading Series
Couplets episode 1, starring Laurie D. Graham and David Huebert, will be on Friday, May 20th, 6:30 – 7:30pm.
Andy Verboom hails from subrural Nova Scotia. His poetry is published or forthcoming in such journals as CV2, Arc, BafterC, Descant, and The Puritan; has won the Winston Collins Prize for Best Canadian Poem; and has been shortlisted for Arc’s Poem of the Year. His chapbook Tower (Anstruther Press) will drop in the summer of 2016. He is the managing content editor of The Word Hoard, a literary and humanities journal, and the proud new organizer of Couplets: Poets in Dialogue, a collaborative reading series.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
While established poets will be invited from the long list of former featured readers at the London Open Mic Poetry Night, Couplets is seeking applications for the position of ‘wildcard’ from London poets who have not yet featured at London Open Mic. Preference will be given to younger poets who have not yet published full-length collections.
If you’re interested in participating, send the following items (in a single attached Word or PDF file) to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- 50 – 100-word bio;
- 50 – 100-word statement of your interests and investments (e.g., formal, social) as a poet;
- 4 – 5 pages of your poetry, particularly of the type you’d like to read at Couplets;
- 4 – 5 brief examples of how you would engage with an established poet at Couplets.
This is an open and ongoing call. Exciting applicants will be contacting on an ongoing basis to ensure their availability for upcoming months, and our poet couplets will be put in touch a month before their shared event in order to plan their collaboration.
The original idea for this series came from Frank Beltrano. Thanks, Frank!