Kathleen O'Toole
Biography
Selected Poems
Events
Connections

Kathleen O'Toole has navigated the currents of creativity and public life for more than fourdecades. While each year sees more of her poetry published in journals and collections, she continues to use her creativity, community organizing and leadership development skills to make a difference in the world.

Kathleen is currently serving as the Poet Laureate of Takoma Park MD.

Her books include two chapbooks, Practice, and Waking Hours, and Meanwhile, a full length collection. In 2017, she collaborated on In the Margins, with three of her longtime writing partners.

Next on deck, the publication of her new poetry collection This Far, by Paraclete Press in early 2020.

Her creativity was nurtured in a family of actors in Wilmington Delaware, where her parents founded and ran a theater. She studied drama at the Catholic University of America, but received her degree in French, studied theology but found a vocation in community organizing. However, writing and poetry were always in the wings.

In 1991, she received an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and subsequently taught writing at Hopkins and at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Since 1993, her poems have appeared in regional and national jounals and magazines, including, America, Atlanta Review, Christian Century, Hunger Mountain, Little Patuxent Review, Notre Dame Review, Passager, Poetry, Potomac Review, and Praairie Schooner. Anthologies in which her work has appeared include: Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology, DC Poets Against the War, and Inspired Resuls: Poets and Artists of Takoma Park, MD.

Introduced to haiku poetry by her friend haiku master Nick Virgilio, Kathleen writes and publishes haiku, co-edited the 2010 Towpath Poets Anthology, a few stars away, and wrote the afterword to Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku.

In recent years, more of Kathleen's poems have been singled out in competitions, including the Northern Virginia Review Prize and in the Beulah Rose and Ruth Stone Poetry Prizes. Her poem "At the Mariner's Chapel, Auvillar" was selected by Christian Wiman for 3rd place in the Image/New York Encounter Poetry Contest, 2017. She is grateful to have participated in residencies at Anam Cara Writers and Artists Retreat, Blue Mountain Center, Martha's Vineyard Center for the Literary Arts, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, both in Amherst, VA and Auvillar, France. All have given her time and space to write and gather poems for publication. Her participation in the Community of Writers (CA) five times, has brought reliable inspiration and invaluable connections.

She continues to delight - and write - sailing the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries on the sloop Riff-Raff with her husband John Ruthrauff.