What is "Couplets: a Collaborative Reading Series"? Each episode of Couplets features a pair of poets who write (or have written) in London, Ontario (or the surrounding region): an established ‘anchor’ poet and an emerging ‘wildcard’ poet. A month in advance, the anchor and wildcard poets begin collaborating on an evening of alternating readings, response poems, renga, duets, live interview, writing exercises, arguments, and general poetic tennis (net optional). Their episode is the culmination of this collaboration, a bespoke performance sparking in the gaps between two poets.
Monika Lee is a Canadian writer and literary scholar awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant for poetry in 2010. Her collection Gravity loves the body was published by South Western Ontario Poetry Press (2008) and her chapbook slender threads appeared from EBIP and the Canadian Poetry Association (2004). She has published poems in dozens of literary journals and anthologies, including Canadian Literature, Vallum, Scrivener Creative Review, Windsor Review, Dalhousie Review, Nashwaak Review, Harpweaver, ARoom of One’s Own, Event, Atlantis, Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review,Ariel, Quills, Qwerty, Ascent, and Grub Street Literary Magazine. Monika graduated with distinction from the Humber College School for Writers in 2008. Her play “The Petting Zoo” was performed as part of the Playwrights Cabaret at the McManus Theatre. She’s also published a book of literary criticism,Rousseau’s Impact on Shelley: Figuring the Written Self (1999), and scholarly articles on Shelley, nineteenth-century literature, Canadian literature, and creative writing. A full professor in the English Department at Brescia University College, she teaches nineteenth-century British literature, creative writing, and other courses in English literature.
“gravity loves the body… offers us rich, tactile images of a woman, mother, and lover: ‘[w]e are the petals of one flower.’ Lee never strays into easy summary or sentimentality. She refuses to hide behind language or obscure literary allusions. …Along with her, we nurse a baby in the bath, visit Marrakech, and lose a mother to death. Her humor, wit, and unflinching view make us trust her, and want to live in the richness of this book as long as possible.” —Emily Wall, Canadian Literature
Lee was the featured reader at the London Open Mic Poetry Night on June 4th, 2014. On the London Open Mic Poetry website, you can read an interview with Lee and four of her poems.
“skin to skin is a collaborative text documenting our reading for Couplets. After juxtaposing and splicing together selections from our work during an evening of poetic improvisation, this conversation became a poem which was caught in paper and ink. Some of the poems stand whole, but they are diversely shadowed and tinted by coming into each other’s light. Others are grafted with lines we chose from each other’s work. The title piece merges two previously unacquainted poems, which immediately interlocked. These interweaving lines and poems form counterpoints from which new and surprising harmonies have coalesced.” —Monika Lee and Shelly Harder