Dr. Toby Altman to join faculty of Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University for fall semester 2024

April 1, 2024

The Residential College in the Arts & Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University and its Center for Poetry are pleased to announce that Toby Altman, Ph.D., will join the faculty at RCAH and assume the directorship of the RCAH Center for Poetry in August 2024.

Toby Altman holds an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Northwestern University. He currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Beloit College. In addition to publishing multiple chapbooks of poetry, Dr. Altman has published two full-length books: Arcadia, Indiana (2017, Plays Inverse) and Discipline Park (2023, Wendy’s Subway). A third book, Jewel Box, is due to be published by Essay Press in 2025. He has held fellowships from the Graham Foundation, MacDowell, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Altman has published scholarship in journals such as English Literary History and Contemporary Literature. An accomplished teacher, Dr. Altman has taught courses in composition, literature, and creative writing at such institutions as Beloit College, the University of Iowa, Loyola University, and Northwestern University. Dr. Altman has helped to organize events that celebrate poetry in community settings, including What Happens: A Festival of Poets’ Theater in Iowa City and the Absinthe and Zygote Poetry Reading Series in Chicago.

“Teaching at RCAH and leading the RCAH Center for Poetry is a dream come true,” said Altman about the appointment. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the university, the city, and the literary community in and around Lansing. And I’m excited to collaborate with students, faculty, and community members. I hope we can work together to create innovative and inclusive events—readings, performances, and conversations that expand our collective sense of what poetry can be and welcome new writers to the art we love.”

The appointment culminates a search initiated upon previous Center for Poetry Director Lauren Russell’s appointment to the faculty of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Altman,” said Center for Poetry Acting Director Laurie Hollinger, “and to assist in the implementation of innovative and inclusive events, conversations, and engagements that extend the reach of the Center’s historical slate of activities and engage even more students and communities in the practice of poetry.” 

RCAH Interim Dean Glenn Chambers also welcomed Altman. 

“The RCAH Center for Poetry is the heart of poetic activity on Michigan State University’s campus,” Chambers said. “We are delighted to welcome acclaimed poet Toby Altman as the Center’s new director and a member of the RCAH faculty. As a teacher and scholar, Dr. Altman continues to build on his impressive body of published work and public programming, and I know he will serve as an inspiring role model for MSU student poets and other artists when he joins us in East Lansing in the fall.”


About the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at MSU

The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) is a student-centered college that mobilizes the arts and humanities through our wide range of programming to create collaborative, community engaged methods for addressing the complex societal problems facing our local and global communities and to reimagine and build a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.


About the RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU

The RCAH Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We conceive of this broadly, including through readings, performances, workshops, contests, interdisciplinary conversations, and engagement with communities. We believe that poetry is vital, fun, and should be accessible to everyone. Through its many manifestations, poetry also has the potential to raise awareness, stimulate new ways of thinking and knowing, and galvanize change. We are at work building a poetry community in the Greater Lansing area and beyond.