Kathleen O’Toole has navigated the currents of creativity and public life —the author of two books of poetry and a community organizer for more than thirty years. In 2011 Meanwhile,
her first full-length poetry collection joins Practice
, a 2005 chapbook, in bringing to her poetry the recognition that has more often come to her community organizing and leadership in social change endeavors.
Her creativity was nurtured in a family of actors in Wilmington Delaware, where her parents founded and ran a dinner-theatre, and her mother introduced young people to theatre. She studied drama at the Catholic University of America, but received her degree in French, studied theology but found a vocation in urban 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 has taught writing at Hopkins and at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Since 1993 her poems have appeared in regional and national journals and magazines, including America, Christian Century, Little Patuxent Review, Margie, Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Poetry, Potomac Review
and on line in Beltway
and Delaware Review.
Anthologies in which her work has appeared include DC Poets Against the War
and Inspired Results
: Poets and Artists of Takoma Park, MD.
Introduced to haiku poetry by Nick Virgilio, Kathleen writes and publishes haiku, is a member of Towpath Haiku Poets and the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association. She recently co-edited the 2010 Towpath Anthology, a few stars away.
In recent years, residencies at Blue Mountain Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts have created time and space to write, and she treasures the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley to which she has returned four times since 2001. Kathleen has also participated in the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Summer Program.
She finds great solace, and poetic inspiration, sailing the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries on the sloop Riff-Raff with Captain John.