Spotlight series #58: Genevieve Kaplan

rob mclennan
2 min readFeb 1, 2021

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.


Often my poems begin when I’m walking.
Mostly my poems begin with observing.
Writing is also listening.
Frequently my poems expand.
Touch is important.
I like to sew words while I’m drafting to get a feel for each letter.
Sometimes poems contract.
Here, I present two complete versions of one poem.

our hesitations can easily be noted by passers-by

when our job is one that
must be done in public
it sounds difficult, at most
when others aren’t observing
but merely hoping
to get by
we see
cliff collapse, green
medians, long
yellow-edged feet
of waterbirds. we
are measuring a stick
against a kelp pod
we are posing with a staff
against the sea. we hear
a raking of the sand
to fill the just-dug hole, we stand
on a hill — a low hill — and find
our feet have dampened
please bend
low to see, consider carefully
what our arms attract

Genevieve Kaplan is the author of (aviary) (Veliz Books, 2020); In the ice house (Red Hen Press, 2011), winner of the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s poetry publication prize; and four chapbooks, most recently I exit the hallway and turn right from above/ground press. Her poems can be found in Third Coast, Spillway, Denver Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Poetry, and other journals. A poet, scholar, and book-maker, Genevieve lives in southern California. She edits the Toad Press International chapbook series, publishing contemporary translations of poetry and prose.