Charles Rafferty, M.F.A.

DepartmentEnglish and CommunicationsCharles Rafferty, M.F.A. at Albertus Magnus College
BackgroundB.A. Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Literature and Language
M.F.A. University of Arkansas, Creative Writing
OfficeAquinas Hall

Teaching Philosophy

The writing workshop is the best way for writers to get feedback and to hone their critical skills. The goal is to build up the faculties of our internal editors so that we don't need to rely on workshops forever. If things go perfectly, the students learn to see what others see. They understand that some poems fail because of just one word ' as troubling as a hornet on the railing of a crib. They learn to find it, and to say it better.

Writing Philosophy

I'm not someone who believes the writer should wait for inspiration. It's the job of the writer to find the inspiration. This is hard work. It involves constant revision. It necessitates the ability to surprise oneself. It requires some kind of schedule, a selfishness, a promise that you will give the best hour of the day to your art. Don't turn on the TV until you've written at least one beautiful sentence. To have successful poems over the long haul, you must be the kind of person who dusts the furniture when there is no hope of visitors.

The 50 Books That Had the Biggest Impact on My Writing (in no particular order)

  • Illuminations, Arthur Rimbaud
  • Local Time, Stephen Dunn
  • Poems, 1957-1967, James Dickey
  • Where I'm Calling From, Raymond Carver
  • The Collected Stories, Amy Hempel
  • The Complete Poems, Emily Dickinson
  • Harmonium, Wallace Stevens
  • Howl, Allen Ginsberg
  • A Coney Island of the Mind, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Ariel, Sylvia Plath
  • Crow, Ted Hughes
  • Selected Poems, Mark Strand
  • Friends and Assassins, Heather Ross Miller
  • The Branch Will Not Break, James Wright
  • Poems, 1965-1975, Seamus Heaney
  • American Primitive, Mary Oliver
  • The Childhood of an Equestrian, Russell Edson
  • Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Dubliners, James Joyce
  • Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger
  • Local Men, James Whitehead
  • A Robber in the House, Jessica Treat
  • American Journal, Robert Hayden
  • Black Dog, Red Dog, Stephen Dobyns
  • Night Light, Donald Justice
  • Poetry & Prose, Robert Frost
  • The World Doesn't End, Charles Simic
  • The Blessing of the Boats, Lucille Clifton
  • Riffs and Reciprocities, Stephen Dunn
  • Tar, C.K. Williams
  • Rain, William Carpenter
  • The Collected Stories, Lydia Davis
  • Extravagaria, Pablo Neruda
  • The Complete Poems: 1927-1979, Elizabeth Bishop
  • Life Studies, Robert Lowell
  • The Complete Stories, Ernest Hemingway
  • Late, Cecilia Woloch
  • Living on the Surface, Miller Williams
  • The Complete Stories, Flannery O'Conner
  • Selected Poems, William Carlos Williams
  • The Country Between Us, Carolyn Forche
  • Collected Poems, Theodore Roethke
  • Cruelty, Ai
  • Collected Poems, Philip Larkin
  • Vectors, James Richardson
  • Selected Poems, W.S. Merwin
  • The ABC of Reading, Ezra Pound
  • Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
  • View With a Grain of Sand, Wislawa Szymborska
  • Gasoline, Gregory Corso

Selected Publications and Prizes


2021: Connecticut Artist Fellowship Award

2019: Third Place for the 2019 VERA Awards (Vestal Review) for "Inadvertent Mousetrap"

2019: Longlist for the Wigleaf 50 - "The Blue Piano"

2018: Finalist for the Connecticut Book Award

2017: Write Well Award for "The Silver Smile of the Hatchet"

2016: Nano Fiction Prize

2015: Vella Chapbook Contest, Paper Nautilus Press

2013: Annual Poetry Book Contest, Steel Toe Books

2009: National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship

2009: Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism Poetry Fellowship

2003: River Styx International Poetry Contest

2001: Connecticut Poetry Society Brodine/Brodinsky Prize

2001: Connecticut Commission on the Arts Fellowship

1999: Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize in Poetry

1995: The Lyric Memorial Prize

1994: Arkansas Poetry Award

1994: Painted Bride Quarterly Poetry Contest

1993: Still Waters Press Chapbook Award

Fiction Books

Moscodelphia. Norwalk, CT: Woodhall Press. 2021.

Somebody Who Knows Somebody. Boston, MA: Gold Wake Press, 2021.

Saturday Night at Magellan's. Burlington, VT: Fomite Press, 2013.

Poetry Books

A Cluster of Noisy Planets. Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2021.

The Smoke of Horses. Rochester, NY. BOA Editions, 2017.

The Unleashable Dog. Bowling Green, KY: Steel Toe Books, 2014.

A Less Fabulous Infinity. Hammond, LA: Louisiana Literature Press, 2006.

During the Beauty Shortage. Denver, NC: M2 Press, 2005.

Where the Glories of April Lead. Denver, NC: Mitki/Mitki Press, 2001.

The Man on the Tower. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1995.

Poetry Chapbooks

The Problem With Abundance. West Hartford, CT: Grayson Books, 2019.

Something an Atheist Might Bring Up at a Cocktail Party. Mayapple Press. 2018.

Diminution. Enfield, CT: Paper Nautilus Press, 2016.

Appetites. Clemson, SC: Clemson University Press, 2011.

A Trayful of Brimming Martinis. Fayetteville, AR: Picadilly Press, 2003.

A Darkness With Brighter Stars. Fayetteville, AR: Picadilly Press, 2000.

The Bog Shack. Fayetteville, AR: Picadilly Press, 1996.

The Wave That Will Beach Us Both. Galloway Township, NJ: Still Waters Press, 1994.

Courses I Teach in the MFA Program

EN 500: Writing Portfolio

EN 543: Seminar in Poetry I

EN 643: Seminar in Poetry II

EN 522: Readings in Poetry

EN 692: Master Project

Links to Published Work






Poem and Story:

Poem and Interview: