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 five 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, 2010), Rhyme’s Challenge: Poetry, Hip Hop, and
Contemporary Rhyming Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014), and On
Rhyme (Presses Universitaires de Liège, 2017). Presses Universitaires
de Liège also published a French edition of his book, Questions of
Possibility, titled Questions de Possibilité, Poésie Contemporaine et
Forme Poétique (2016).

Caplan serves as a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly
Review and to Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, an affiliated
researcher (Chercheur Affilié) at the Centre Interdisciplinaire de
Poétique Appliquée, and an Affiliated Professor at the University of

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.

His 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