Meet Alisha Kaplan




“I’m a poet. It took me a while to be able to say that, to own it. But being a poet is who I am, and always have been.”






In a society of impatience and instant gratification, Alisha Kaplan takes her time in exploring the world with all of her senses.


“I’m a poet. It took me a while to be able to say that, to own it. But being a poet is who I am, and always have been.”


Alisha explains that being a poet is a certain way of existing in the world. It is about being fully present, noticing things and being moved by them.


“Poetry teaches how to embrace ambiguity, how to appreciate the grey spaces and consider things from different perspectives.  A big part of writing poetry is tying little tangible things that people don’t even notice to an emotional state.”


Writing isn’t a choice for Alisha. She cannot be her whole self without pen in hand. “I just have to write. It’s like exercise- I don’t feel good if I don’t write. I don’t even know what I’m thinking or feeling until I’ve processed it through writing. Poetry becomes a part of everything that I do.”


Alisha is currently working on a book of poems centred around ritual Jewish sacrifices. “I’m fascinated with how detailed and fleshly and gory the descriptions of sacrificial offerings in the Book of Leviticus are, and how different this is from how we practice religion today. My poems explore ideas of sacrifice, physicality, ritual, purity and impurity, and our relationship to animals and death within and beyond Judaism.”


Earlier in her life, Alisha considered going to medical school, but is now involved in helping others heal in an alternative way: through writing. “My interest in poetry’s healing potential came from personal experience with depression. In that state, I couldn’t form coherent sentences. Poetry gave me the freedom to express myself without having pressure for it to be polished or make perfect sense. Reading poetry by others who had experienced what I was experiencing was also a great source of support.”


Alisha felt empowered by creating something out of her own suffering, and is trying to show other people that they can, too. “I write and share my work so others can benefit from it. I know what it’s like to find strength in poems, and I want to give the same experiences to others.”


We live in a culture where people are always on the go. Alisha insists that we must all take time to process what we experience. “I think we need poetry now more than ever because it forces us to slow down and fully embrace what the world is showing us.”


Alisha continues to work on her craft and is looking forward to the upcoming release of her new book of poetry.


Alisha Kaplan grew up in Toronto and became interested in poetry in her twelfth-grade creative writing class. She studied English at Barnard and then went on to complete a master’s degree in Poetry at NYU. She graduated in 2017 and has since been working on a book of poetry to be published in 2019. She also teaches creative writing, edits a literary magazine and helps to run Bela Farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario.

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Jumans of Toronto is a window into the lives and passion of Jewish young adults making their mark in the world. A 50-part series, Jumans is inspired by Humans of New York. If you’d like to recommend someone awesome to be highlighted, please send an email to



Written by: Adina Samuels