Reading Series Census: COUPLET

By on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 9:04 am

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
“COUPLET”—A Quarterly Poetry Reading Series & Social

A COUPLET is a pair of lines in formal poetry. Here, COUPLET signifies the “coupling” of two things: poetry and music. When the series was created, Poet, Leah Umansky and Carlos Rey Sebastián, DJ Ceremony, bonded and became friends over a joint love for Britpop, Glam Rock and New Wave music. In developing a reading series, they “coupled” their two loves: poetry and music. COUPLET strives to curate events that “couple,” or bring together, both emerging and established poets.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Leah Umansky founded it, along with Co-Producer, DJ Ceremony and are still running it.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
Mostly poetry, and sometimes other lyrical writing.

What is the format of the series?
A typical reading begins with 2-3 readers, follows with a short intermission and DJ set, and then rounds up with the final 2 readers. The series concludes with DJ after-party.

Where does the series take place?
COUPLET takes place on the lower level of The Delancey, 168 Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of NYC

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal?)
COUPLET is a quarterly reading series and we perform 3-4 times a year, and our summer event occurs as part of the New York City Poetry Festival.

How long has the series been active?
October 3rd, 2015 will be our 4th anniversary.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
Either at our Facebook page, or tumblr, or our twitter account. We also use the hashtag #coupletnyc on twitter and Instagram.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
It’s a combination. We have a waiting list of readers who have been either solicited by Leah, or have queried about reading. Readers can also contact Leah at

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
Yes, we had two specific goals and have been consistent with both.

1. The first goal was to combine both emerging and established poets. We wanted to create a space for both poets who have published poems, chapbooks, books, and who have advanced degrees in poetry, and welcome poets who are first entering the literary community. We do not discriminate readers based on their publication history. We wanted to create a series that would inform the audience about the poetry world and a series that would enhance the literary community in NYC.

2. The second goal was to make poetry fun and break down the stigmas that surround poetry for non-writers by creating a series that is thought-provoking, exciting and fun.

What distinguishes the series from others?
What distinguishes us from other series is the blend of poets we curate for each reading, and of course, our DJ after-party. Every event features music & after-party by DJ Ceremony. Dancing and poetry! What more could one ask for?

The next COUPLET reading is scheduled for Saturday, October 3, 2015 at The Delancey and features Wesley Rothman, Susan Bruce, Sandra Beasley, Robin Beth Schaer, and Barbara Ungar.

English Kills Review is an online magazine covering books, authors, and writing with an emphasis on New York City. Founded in 2012, English Kills Review engages the literary community while highlighting noteworthy books and authors