at The Whitman-Stein Poetry Fest
Tobey Kaplan

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 over 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.  Ms. Kaplan has received grants from the California Arts Council to serve as poet in residence at community mental health centers. 



Tobey Kaplan reads Djuna Barnes

how to live

Shows me an importance [to} the way of true character….society{we} requires an education

people refuse to commit suicide

~Tasha W. 

If people in the parking lot just stopped to look at the fall leaves

dappled in the moon streetlight mosaic

and take a picture to remember

the instance into colors' fire that litter then crunch

through yards the streets the asphalt

something dying appears brilliant random yet composed

like a personality that is so complicated and so historical

that relationships and behaviors had become layered

no one not even ourselves could explain or understand them:

like nature with its cycles along with the nurturing support prodding

or aversions to men or women loving one another

remember to look up at the stars that tell the story

tell us whatever you care about

and hope is a thing with feathers

suggesting that there's only the choice between necessity or luxury

as if there's no quality of passion in between what about the lucky

privilege you enter into that enables pondering faith

those who sleep

and those secrets in the dust

Tobey Kaplan

She has also worked for Contra Costa County Schools as an instructor in the jails, and her honors include: Dorland Mountain Colony Fellow, and Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and a recipient of the Bay Area Award (New Langton Arts, 1996). 

Kaplan regularly collaborates with performers and musicians, as well as reading her work in venues such as bookstores, coffee houses and community art and gallery spaces.

Across the Great Divide was published by Androgyne, in 1995, and her poems are contained in numerous literary anthologies, on-line 'zines and various journals.   She was selected as a finalist in the Crazyhorse Magazine/ Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize (2008).

As an adjunct faculty member, Tobey Kaplan teaches literature, humanities, reading and composition at several East Bay community colleges, and coordinates education opportunities for the Washoe Tribe/Native TANF program that serves members of the Native American community in Alameda County where she also facilitates a writing group for women in recovery.