RECENT & FORTHCOMING
Nancy Drew Anthology
Silver Birch Press
"Piano Player's Reach"
Open Book Toronto's "What's Your Story" anthology
First published in Silver Birch Press, Learning to Ride Poetry & Prose Series, 2016
Rat's Nests (story)
First published in Silver Birch Press, My Mane Event Poetry & Prose Series, 2016
"Whenever things got slow around River Heights, or when there were personnel changes over at the Stratemeyer Syndicate that upset her or made her feel less invested in her own developments as a character, Nancy coped by drawing.
Her most fertile period as an artist came in the gap between books 7 and 11. Mildred A. Wirt, aka the first Carolyn Keene, was on strike to protest the lowering of freelance rates at the syndicate during the Depression, and had been replaced by a male journalist, who wrote books 8, 9 and 10."
"I’m skimming the foam from the broth when I realize there’s a good chance Kostis and Nikoletta won’t even accept this gift. When I came up with the idea of an edible peace offering late last night, it seemed inspired. Now I’m wondering if it was loco to think a pot of soup, even one with as potent a history as Avgolemono, could do anything to repair the damage or prevent us having to move again before we’ve even had a chance to settle in."
Read more... (please scroll down contest link to final story)
"With no spoken
world of my own I
borrow yours and
glide gently down it.
Drawing a secondhand
breeze from your
cheeks. Toying with
from your open
"You lean in with your comb drawn like a switchblade.
“If you can’t take care of your hair, we’ll have to cut it off.”
The look of frazzled discontent as you work your slender, ringless fingers through a frizzy brown clump the size of an apricot.
“Look at these rats’ nests.”
(winner of Arc Poetry Magazine's first-ever Award of Awesomeness).
"Deadheading in Late August"
(honourable mention, Negative Capability Press poetry contest, Spring, 2020)
NEWS & EVENTS
October 02, 2020
"Editor for Life" profile
I'm so pleased to have been included in Jennifer Foster's long-running series for Editors Toronto's blog, titled "Editor for Life." Mild content warning: This interview includes strong opinions about semicolons and frequent mentions of poetry and poetry editing. It will also be of interest to anyone who knows Connecticut poet David A. Epstein.
August 12, 2020
Tupelo Press 30/30
For all of August, I'm writing a poem a day in support of Tupelo Press, a fabulous non-profit poetry press based in Massachusetts. I would love to say more about this endeavour, but I'm exhausted from staying up every night writing poems and waking up every morning to revise them, while also doing my full-time editing job with Iguana Books...in other words, help....!
You can read my fundraising page here (and donate if you wish): https://tupelopress.networkforgood.com/projects/105963-lee-parpart-s-fundraiser
And here is a link to the poems themselves: https://www.tupelopress.org/the-3030-project-august-20/.
There are ten poets in total, and our poems are grouped together by day. The poems will only be up on Tupelo's website until the end of September, so take a look before they disappear. It has been a total honour to write alongside poets Daisy Bassen, Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum, Taiyon Coleman, Mary Crockett Hill, Cole Depuy, William Erickson, and Daniel Fitzpatrick. I have learned things from each and every one of these talented poets, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity to push myself to produce work every day.
August 07, 2020
Eden Mills Writer's Festival Read at the Fringe contest (second place, poetry)
In early August I learned that I won second place in the Eden Mills Writer's Festival Read at the Fringe poetry contest, for my poem, "Clothesline, June 1984."
This poem goes back four years, and belongs to a series of poems and short fiction that form a modern re-telling of the story of Morpheus (the Greek demigod of dreams). This hybrid work takes elements of the original Morpheus story and re-imagines them through a fictionalized account of a rather unsavoury character with whom I had a chance meeting on Twitter. A gun-loving Trump fan whose Twitter banner featured an image of a table covered in firearms, this person (or bot) called himself Morpheus and was getting into arguments all over Twitter when I came across him in 2016. He caught my attention when he began attacking the Canadian health care system and arguing that its very existence was some sort of communist affront to vaguely defined American freedoms. I got into it with him briefly, and during our exchange, he wrote a reply that was obviously supposed to begin with the stock phrase, "I hate to break it to you, snowflake, but..." but which actually said "I hate to bitsy, snowflake bubbles." I read this hilarious constellation typos and decided in that moment that I had to write this character's story. There was poetry in his fragmented reply, and I spent the next four days banging out an initial half-dozen poems exploring his voice, his politics, and his upbringing. "Clothesline, June 1984" was one of the first poems I wrote, and forms part of my attempt to humanize the character of Morpheus by describing/imagining a poignant scene from his difficult childhood. (All of the material in this poems and in the others is fictionalized; I have no knowledge of this person's actual history, and he has since disappeared from Twitter).
Second and third place winners in the Eden Mills contest do not have their work published, so I can't share the piece here without limiting its chances of being published elsewhere. But I am delighted that it was chosen as a runner-up and will keep sending it out. Funny detail: this was the first time I had ever sent this poem anywhere, and yet it is always the Morpheus poem that writer friends like best.
July 15, 2020
Spring 2020 poetry awards — Negative Capability Press and Arc Poetry Magazine's Award of Awesomeness
I have had an eventful and exciting spring, poetry-wise, despite the world being in such a mess. My good fortune began in May when I earned an honourable mention in Negative Capability Press's spring 2020 poetry contest. Then, a week later, I won Arc Poetry Magazine's first-ever Award of Awesomeness. The poems that won these awards could not be more different, although they do share a common concern with children. The Negative Capability Press honourable mention went to my poem "Deadheading in Late-August," which explores a real or imagined spiritual connection between a mother and a lost child, through an extended gardening metaphor. This poem flowed out of personal experience and has been some thirty years in the making. I took the poem through many drafts, and received input from half a dozen poetry friends, including my poetry circle partner, David A. Epstein (who is usually the first reader for every poem I write), and my poetry professor from Carleton University, Robert Hogg, with whom I reconnected in late 2019. The end result was a long and fairly complex poem that comes very close to communicating what I wanted it to say about the presence of a kinder-spirit in my life and mind all these years. By contrast, the poem that won the Arc Poetry Magazine award was written in just under fifteen minutes, after I had already opened Submittable and had started to put together a group of poems to submit to Arc's first Award of Awesomeness. The contest rules called for a poem of either 50 lines or 50 words, and I wrote the 50-word poem "Hello goodbye" in a flash of inspiration after hearing the first line ("Your dad and I both love you") in my head (as often happens). I'm still pleased with the way this poem draws the reader down the page with a steady dripping motion that mimics one of the central images in the poem: butter dripping from the chin of someone eating king crab. You can read it here.
January 22, 2020
"Lee Parpart — A Writer Has Emerged," Profile by Ed Seaward
Ed Seaward wrote this terrific profile of me for his blog series, "Profiles From the Bright Side of the Road," and I could not be more pleased. This is is just one of a half-dozen perceptive and beautifully written pieces Ed has posted on his site in the run-up to the April 30 release of his novel, FAIR (Porcupine's Quill Press). FAIR is a powerful book, and one of the stronger CanLit debuts I've seen.
January 08, 2020
"The Women Who Revitalized Authors–Toronto"
Check out this new blog post from the inimitable Eddy Seaward, a retired energy guy who is about to make his brilliant CanLit debut. In this latest entry into "Profiles from the Bright Side of the Road," Ed explains how five women (me included) brought the gasping fish that was Canadian Authors Association's Toronto branch (now officially known as Canadian Authors–Toronto) back to life. While you're visiting Ed's website, make sure to check out the links to his novel FAIR, due out with Porcupine's Quill this April. Ed is coming out of the gate strong with this spare, poetic novel about a young homeless man who "finds solace in friendship, falls prey to the machinations of a malevolent gang of thugs, and ultimately is swallowed up by the inevitability of consequences on the dangerous and deceptively sunny streets of L.A."
December 28, 2019
Peter F. Yacht Club reading
Ottawa poet and publisher rob mclennan hosts a fun gathering of poets at the Carleton Tavern every year, and after watching this event for a few years, I was finally able to attend. I had a great time meeting Ottawa poets and presenting new work alongside rob, my poetry circle partner David Epstein (who came up from Connecticut), and my old poetry professor from Carleton U, former Tish school poet Robert (Bob) Hogg. Bob and David provided helpful edits on my poem "Deadheading in Late August" in the days before the reading, and I was delighted to unveil a new poem that revisits one of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus by way of Shiva, the Indian goddess of death and creation. Here is rob's write-up of the event. And here is an audio recording of the event by Craig Carpenter.
July 09, 2019
Lee Parpart & David Epstein at the Woods Hole Public Library
David Epstein and I have been corresponding about poems and swapping drafts on a near-daily basis since 2016. The fact that we've been friends since we were teenagers helps to make this a deeply satisfying poetry circle for two. David lives in Connecticut with his family and I live in Toronto with mine, but we share a common space online, where we can be found gushing over Franz Wright or politely disagreeing over lineation in Robert Creeley or responding line by line to each other's poems. This was the second of two public readings we've held in the Woods Hole Public Library, down the street from the pinball room where we're pretty sure we first met in 1977.
March 11, 2017
Book launch and reading - Nancy Drew Anthology
What: Nancy Drew Anthology launch and reading, Toronto & area contributors
Where: The Supermarket Restaurant & Bar, 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto
When: March 11, 3-5:30 p.m.
Details: Readings & discussion of Nancy Drew and her legacies by: Toronto writer Lee Parpart, Ottawa poet A. Garnett Weiss, Pennsylvania novelist Nancy McCabe, and special guest Angela Misri, award-winning author of the Portia Adams detective series. Drama students from two Toronto performing arts schools will greet audience members in costume as Nancy Drew from different eras, and we'll hold a raffle to give away one or two copies of the collection. The Nancy Drew Anthology offers a wide range of different poetry, fiction, essays, and visual art by 97 contributors from around the world. Some of the contributors are major fans, while others grapple with how they fell in and out of love with the iconic female sleuth during their formative years as readers and writers. My own contribution imagines what a personified Nancy Drew might have gotten up to during a (real) writer's strike that affected the series during the Great Depression, causing Mildred Benson to walk off the job and leave a male writer to pen three of the books published in the 1930s.
Lee reads from her award-winning story Piano Player's Reach at a literary event organized by Open Book Toronto. Oct. 1, 2016, S. Walter Stewart Library, East York. The event also includes new poetry and fiction from established Toronto writers Diana Fitzgerald Bryan, Michael Januska and Kate Flaherty.
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I was born in Boston and travelled a lot as a kid with my academic mom, living in Zambia, the U.K. and many parts of the U.S. before emigrating to Canada in 1983. I worked as an arts journalist for 10 years, earned an MFA in Film & Video at York University in Toronto, and published numerous film essays in academic books and journals before returning to my two earliest passions, poetry and fiction, in 2015. My poems and short fiction have appeared in Hegira, Vernal, and Silver Birch Press, and I was named an 'emerging writer' for East York in Open Book Ontario's 2016 "What's Your Story?" Contest. My story, "Piano Player's Reach," appeared online and in a contest anthology, and was read at an Open Book event in October 2016. My latest published short story, "Nancy drew," imagines how the
fictional sleuth might have passed her time during a (real) writers' strike that affected the series during the Great Depression. Since that work appeared, I have won several poetry awards, including an honourable mention in Negative Capability Press's Spring 2020 poetry contest; Arc Poetry Magazine's first-ever Award of Awesomeness in May, 2020; and second place in the August, 2020 Eden Mills Writer's Festival Read at the Fringe contest. I work full-time as a literary editor for Iguana Books in Toronto, and serve as co-president of Canadian Authors Association's Toronto branch. I split my time between Toronto, where I live with my husband and daughter, and Woods Hole, Massachusetts.