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Today's poem is "The Tooth Ministry"
from Dreamlife of a Philanthropist

University of Notre Dame Press

Janet Kaplan is the author of two previous poetry collections, The Groundnote and The Glazierís Country, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, online and in print. She is the recipient of the Poets Out Loud Prize from Fordham University Press, the Alice James Books New England and New York prize, and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Vogelstein Foundation, and Rattapallax Press (the Godot Grant in Poetry). She teaches at Hofstra University and Fordham University, where she is currently Poet in Residence.

Other poems by Janet Kaplan in Verse Daily:

Books by Janet Kaplan:

Other poems on the web by Janet Kaplan:
"Eighteen Trees"
Two poems

About Dreamlife of a Philanthropist:

"ĎThe mindís no place for a life,í writes Janet Kaplan, nudging reason off the stool where it had sat so preciously balanced. Some poems seek to re-wire the mechanism of their own creation; and here, in poems whose wit cannot be told apart from their momentum, we find thinking at work against itself, undoing conclusion, battling intent, in order to recover some lost ground of formís unconscious foundation. The ambition is high, though humble as you read it. Kaplan is capable of cosmogonic play and radical domesticity (as if one were different from the other). The poems here hover above their own titles, this dream-life of the poem more important than the poem itself, a place in which thinking is not yet thought, intent not yet conclusive, not language even as a form of life, but language in the process of making that life possible. It isnít a mental life; it is too real for that easy confine. Letís just call it the necessary lifeóa life of serious play."
—Dan Beachy-Quick

"Composed of (often comestible) daily objects made strange, Dreamlife of a Philanthropist bears echoes of ekphrasis and takes its cue from both the linguistically excitable and fabular lineages of the prose poem. Here we find ourselves face-to-face with "Organic bomber planes, zucchini flowers, captions. All of it blurry, a Seurat that never comes clear, no matter how far in the future one stands." Kaplan challenges the prose poem form by dividing many of her pieces into 14 numbered sections--an unrhymed sonnet riff--or by writing into her titles, ending, rather than beginning, with the thrust of naming. As such, Dreamlife employs the poem-as-object while slyly evading its containment. And the voice here charms, leading us into a landscape of Tender Buttons meets Claes Oldenberg or Rene Magritte. We have seen this world before, but this book calls for an experience of new proportions."
—Karla Kelsey

"In Janet Kaplan's work, the elements of thought--language, shifting self, recurrence, movement--combine into powerful compounds, compounds into machines whose primary purpose is to give shape and music to the void. These machines amaze the world to life, and Kaplan's reader may feel, as I do, lucky to be there at the inception."
—Brian Clements



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