Poetry: Tobey Kaplan


color first a thousand kids

first a thousand kids’ energy musing in late dark theatres of lonely houses
her leg leans heavy my arm draped casually on her thigh not a day goes by
without my considering her love of opera and some writers are terrific
to remember clean my garage books full of O’Hara a soothsayer of long nights
his poems quotidian like wrinkled lawns source of lavender lights
stage lights silky bedding not a day goes by sleepers in the window
layers of sand white boards smooth leaves construction parking
a long goodnight barbecue where some man asked if she was from Thailand
I want to tell her before I was born millions of crickets I offered a glass
of water and she put it under her chair with the takeout we’re watching
strange bodies on the stage inflatable shapes costumed phrases
energetic silky colors like orange and appearances will not go on to say


an incorrigible dirigible: recent poetics

the friction of the storm the stolen moments hidden forbidden
a titantic of language sinking under its own dancing weight
gravity and gravity a delicious serious delusion of language that pulls you

out of tension a conflict erase erasure/

are you sure of nothing I can name like boxes of performance or perfection

the voice of stone in the stuttering anxiety and nervousness

so that I am juxtaposition the shifting progressive degeration of ritual desire

where poetry takes us in an objective field that projects a snapshot language
       of narrative
collage words’ demolition demonstration illustrate innovate tactical rhythm

a portrait and texture of the moment


About the Author

Tobey Kaplan, a poet originally from New York City, with degrees from Syracuse and San Francisco State Universities, has been teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area for thirty years.  An active member of California Poets in the Schools and Associated Writing Programs,  Ms. Kaplan has given readings, workshops and presentations throughout the country regarding creative process, literacy and social change. She has been recently hired by the Washoe Tribe to coordinate a range of educational services and identify career building programs for the Native American community in Alameda Country.

Ms. Kaplan has received grants from the California Arts Council, 1979-1982 to serve as poet in residence at community mental health centers, and has also taught creative writing as an adult education instructor at  Pleasant Hill Adult School. She has also worked for Contra Costa County  Schools as an instructor in the jails, and for Project Second Chance as the detention facilities tutor coordinator.  Her honors include: being named Dorland Mountain Colony Fellow, honorable mention Crazyhorse poetry prize 2008 and Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, as well as being the recipient of a Bay Area Award (New Langton Arts, 1996). Among her publications are: Across the Great Divide ( Androgyne, 1995). Her poems are contained in numerous literary anthologies. As an adjunct faculty member, Tobey Kaplan currently teaches creative writing, literature, humanities, reading and composition at several East Bay community colleges.