Languages and Cultures

Heather Altfeld

Heather Altfeld teaches in Honors Program as well as the CORH department.  She is a poet and an essayist, and her work appears or is forthcoming in Conjunctions, Lit Hub, Orion Magazine of Nature, Culture and Place, Narrative Magazine, ZYZZYVA, and many others.  Her research and areas of interest include Children’s Literature, the role of photography in memory, the connections between anthropology and poetry, public Waldorf Education, and things that have vanished. Her book, The Disappearing Theatre won the 2016 Poets at Work Prize.  She has taught in Juvenile Hall, California Poets-in the Schools, Teachers and Writers Collaborative in New York City, the Chino Men's Prison, and various campuses in the North State.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF) (PDF)

Altfeld's essay, "Obituary for Dead Languages", was chosen to be included in, "The Best American Essays 2019". Her first book, "The Disappearing Theatre" won the 2015 Poets at Work Prize.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America and the 2015 recipient of the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry.

"The Best American Essays features a selection of the years outstanding essays, essays of literary achievement that shows an awareness of craft and forcefulness of thought. Hundreds of essays are gathered annually from a wide assortment of national and regional publications." -copyright "The Best American Essays 2019"

"Obituary for Dead Languages" was first published for "Conjunctions #70", in May of 2018, with the title, "Every Day, Another Language Dies":

"They also had one word that they learned from the wind that they only used with stones—and absolutely never with each other—that, if uttered, was a spell, a name you could carry with you that would open the gates to the city of forever. The word died with them, buried in the folds of old brains and skin, zippered into the earth beneath a tel somewhere between the Tigris and the Yellow River." -"Every Day, Another Language Dies"

Access to Other Literary Works by Heather Altfeld

Heather Altfeld has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York with majors in both Anthropology and Creative Writing, and an MFA from the Cal State MFA consortium. She teaches in the Honors Program and for the Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities at California State University, Chico.