Toby Altman is the author of Arcadia, Indiana (Plays Inverse, 2017) and several chapbooks, including Every Hospital by Bertrand Goldberg (Except One), winner of the 2018 Ghost Proposal chapbook prize and Antigone without Antigone (Greying Ghost, 2019). His poems can or will be found in Gulf Coast, jubilat, Lana Turner, and other journals and anthologies; his criticism can or will be found in Denver Quarterly, The Georgia Review, and Jacket2.
He holds an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD in English from Northwestern University, where his dissertation "The Shock of the Old: Periodization, Poetics, and Diachronic Exchange between the Renaissance and the Avant-Garde," received the Jean H. Hagstrum Prize for Best Disertation. He currently holds a John C. Schupes Fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
With Emily Barton Altman he is co-host of Make (No) Bones, a poetry podcast. With Liana Katz, he is co-editor of Damask Press, a chapbook press specializing in handcrafted books. He was co-founder of What Happens? an annual festival of Poets' Theater in Iowa City, which premiered work by Bernadette Mayer, Tracie Morris, and many others. Between 2012 and 2017, he co-curated the Absinthe and Zygote reading series with Alix Anne Shaw. He has held residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Vermont Studio Center.
I am currently completing a monograph, The Diachronic Renaissance: Periodization, Poetics, and the Shock of the Old, about the strange, subterranean connections between Renaissance and avant-garde poetries. I am also working on a multi-book poetic meditation on the politics of American architecture in the mid-west. Working through figures like Bertrand Goldberg, Louis Sullivan, and Daniel Burnham, the project moves between concrete poetry, architectural criticism, geography, and memoir, to document the vulnerabilities and capacities of art under capitalism. Writing in Post45, Harris Feinsod described Discipline Park, the first book in the project, as belonging “to a genealogy of Chicago poems on the city's urban palimpsests, most famously Gwendolyn Brooks's In the Mecca…”
Reach me at altman [dot] toby [at] gmail [dot] com. Or follow me on Twitter, where I make a lot of dad jokes.