David M. Caplan

Professor of English


B.A., Hobart College
M.F.A., University of Florida
M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia


David Caplan is the Charles M. Weis Professor in English and the Associate Director of Creative Writing. His scholarly interests include poetics and contemporary poetry. He has published four books: Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form (Oxford University Press, 2004), Poetic Form: An Introduction (Longman, 2006), In the World He Created According to His Will (poems) (University of Georgia Press/VQR Poetry Series, 2010), and Rhyme’s Challenge: Poetry, Hip Hop, and Contemporary Rhyming Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Caplan serves as a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review and to Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, and as an affiliated researcher (Chercheur Affilié) at the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée. Twice he has been a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Liège. He also was the National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow in Poetics at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Modern Language Association's Creative Writing Forum. His other honors include the Virginia Quarterly Review's Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry, the Welch Award for Scholarly or Artistic Achievement, and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Criticism.

Presses Universitaires de Liège (Belgium) published a French edition of his book, Questions of Possibility, and has scheduled for publication an essay collection titled On Rhyme that he is editing. His other current projects include American Poetry: A Very Short Introduction (under contract to Oxford University Press) and a second poetry collection.

Publications / Presentations

  • Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form (Oxford University Press, 2004; paperback edition, 2006, French edition, Presses Universitaires de Liège, 2016)
  • Reviews of Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form:
  • Poetic Form: An Introduction (Pearson Longman, 2006)
  • In the World He Created According to His Will (poems) (University of Georgia Press/VQR Poetry Series, 2010).
  • The Jerusalem Post praised In the World He Created as “where beauty and wisdom merge,” calling Caplan “one of those poets a culture discards at its peril.” “Caplan manages to turn the form inside out,” The Forward also observed, “while still creating a deeply spiritual meditation on nature, human relationships, and God.”
  • Rhyme’s Challenge: Poetry, Hip Hop, and Contemporary Rhyming Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • Caplan appeared on Newstalk, a national radio broadcast in Ireland, to talk with Sean Moncrieff, host of the Moncrieff Show, about Rhyme’s Challenge. The interview can be found here.
  • In its Spring 2012 issue, the Virginia Quarterly Review published a commissioned sequence of his poems, accompanied by photographs taken by Noah Rabinowitz, set at Tiferes Bachurim, a Lubavitch yeshiva in Morristown, New Jersey. Introducing the Morristown poems, Stephen Burt noted, “These remarkable poems blend spiritual unease with religious confidence, an investigator’s fascinated spirit with a sense that the poet has almost—but not quite—come home.  The poems and Burt’s introduction can be found here.

Contact Info


Sturges Hall #203
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3593
E dmcaplan@owu.edu