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Couplets: a collaborative poetry reading series

Each episode of Couplets is a unique blend of dialogue, collaborative writing, and collaborative performance.


Episode #17: Jim Johnstone & Megan Arnold (Thursday April 26)

Thursday April 26,  6 – 7 p.m.
Free admission; cash bar
Facebook Event

This episode is going to be a special Couplets / Tingfest universe-colliding crossover mix-’em-up will-it-blend event!

Jim Johnstone is a Toronto-based poet, editor, and critic. He’s the author of four previous books of poetry—Dog Ear (Véhicule, 2014), Sunday, the locusts (Tightrope, 2011), Patternicity (Nightwood Editions, 2010), and The Velocity of Escape (Guernica, 2008)—and the subject of the critical monograph Proofs & Equational Love: The Poetry of Jim Johnstone by Shane Neilson and Jason Guriel. He’s also the winner of several awards, including a CBC Literary Award, The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and Poetry’s Editors Prize for Book Reviewing. Currently, Johnstone curates the Anstruther Books imprint at Palimpsest Press and is an associate editor at Representative Poetry Online.

Praised for its darkly psychological accounts of extreme experiences, Jim Johnstone’s fifth book of poems, The Chemical Life, explores his most difficult terrain to date: mental illness and addiction. Like Coleridge’s opium dreams, Johnstone’s narratives are hallucinatory, coloured by his use of both prescription and recreational drugs. Returning often to the notion of rival realities—“in everything, there is a second state”—Johnstone is brilliantly disruptive and disorientating; a poet whose savagely austere forms, electrically precise images, and keyed-up rhythms reveal an obsession with the mind-altering properties of language itself.

Megan Arnold (b. 1993, Calgary, AB) is a multifaceted human being best known for her work as Megan Arnold (cartoonist), Shhh (minimal electronic mope pop musician), and Crybaby Kiki (drag fag). Significant achievements include winning the title of prom queen in 2011, graduating with a BFA from Western University in 2015, and participating in the April 2018 installment of the Couplets collaborative poetry series.

The Nihilist Dog Walks Away From Home Demo is both a standalone minicomic and a teaser for the forthcoming Nihilist Dog Walks Away From Home, the first full-length comic from writer/artist duo Maverick Summers and Megan Arnold.

For more info on this event, future events, and how to participate in Couplets, visit

What is Couplets?

Two poets locked in mortal struggle and/or collegial mentorship. One London poet and one Toronto poet. For an entire month, they’ve collaborated on this evening of alternating readings, response poems, renga, duets, live interview, writing exercises, shouting matches, elaborate period-costume satire, and general poetic tennis. For one night only, they present this collaboration to you. Live! In full colour and surround-sound! Admission is always free because your attendance is invaluable—but there will be a book table and we will pass a hat for our poets so you can show that you value artistic labour in a cold, hard way. All donations go to the performers!

Facebook: @CoupletsReadingSeries
Twitter: @CoupletsPoetry