Stage: The White Horse
Time: 2:20 PM
Interview with curator Leah Umansky
1. Tell us a little bit about your organization — how you started, what your mission is, and anything else you see as pertinent.
I started COUPLET with my friend Carlos Rey Sebastian (DJ CEREMONY) almost a year ago. I wanted to merge my two passions in life: poetry and music and I wanted to create a reading series for poets who might not have a MFA or a book of poems. I wanted to add something different to the Reading Series circuit in Manhattan. We live in such a fabulous city and there is something to do almost every night (including going to see a live reading), and I wanted to create a poetry reading with open-arms. After I completed my MFA in 2004, I found it very difficult to book readings in or around the city without a book of my own, or major publications. Since I’ve created COUPLET, I’ve not only been exposed to so many other wonderful reading series, but also other like-minded hosts, curators and writers who I am glad to call my friends.
Mission: Our mission is to couple the world of music and poetry and to expose emerging poets and established poets side by side into the poetry scene.
Description: COUPLET is a quarterly poetry and music series at The Delancey on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Readings feature three poets and a DJ after party by DJ Ceremony.
Host/Curator: Leah Umansky
DJ: DJ CEREMONY
Readers have included: Bianca Stone, Amy Lawless, Mary Flanagan, Rick Snyder, Joanna Furhman, Hanna Andrews, Liz Axelrod, Ashley Mabbitt, and Amy King
2. Who is reading in your slot at the Festival and why?
Readers include: Katherine Franke, Susan Bruce, Derek Pollard and Victoria Redel. Katherine and Susan are very talented poets that I’ve met in my poetry workshop at the New School and wanted to give them exposure in the Poetry World. Derek is an established poet and editor at Barrow Street; He’s someone I’ve wanted to see read for a while now. Victoria was my former poetry teacher, back in 2004 when I earned my MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. When I first put COUPLET together, last summer, she was someone I was eager to have read for COUPLET.
3. Who else are you looking forward to seeing at the Festival?
I’m looking forward to so many readers at the Festival, but especially: Cornelius Eady and the Cave Canum Poets; the Great Weather for Media Poets, the Patsola Parlor poets, the InDigest Poets, The Highwaymen Poets, The Ping Pong Poets, and the Underwater New York Poets(which I’m glad to be reading in )
I have so many friends who are reading in the festival, so it means so much to me to be able to support them. To name a few:Liz Axelrod, Lisa Marie Basile, Jillian Brall, Amy Lawless, and Joanna Fuhrman.
4. Did you attend the festival last year? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?
No, I was out of town last year during the festival, so this 2nd festival is EXTRA special for me as a Host/Curator of COUPLET but also as a reader myself.
5. Why is live poetry important?
Live poetry is important for several reasons. First of all, all poets have a voice and it’s important to be heard. Second of all, poetry has a life outside of the page and third of all, Poetry needs to be exposed to the non-poetry world. People are sometimes so afraid of not understanding poetry, or not enjoying poetry, but there is a vein of poetry for everyone.