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Charles Rafferty

Charles Rafferty received an MFA from the University of Arkansas.

He is the author of several books of poetry, including The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017), A Less Fabulous Infinity (Louisiana Literature Press, 2006), and The Man on the Tower (University of Arkansas Press, 1995), which received the Arkansas Poetry Award.

Rafferty’s work, Lydia Davis writes, is “sometimes lyrical and ecstatic, sometimes funny and self-deprecating, sometimes wistful, but always beautifully precise….”

Rafferty is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism. He directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017)
The Unleashable Dog (Steel Toe Books, 2014)
A Less Fabulous Infinity (Louisiana Literature Press, 2006)
During the Beauty Shortage (M2 Press, 2005)
Where the Glories of April Lead (Mitki/Mitki, 2001)
The Man on the Tower (University of Arkansas Press, 1995)

Prose
Saturday Night at Magellan’s (Fomite Press, 2013)

By This Poet

7

Insomnolence

I navigate the dark house by moving from the green star of the smoke detector to the blue star of the electric toothbrush. I am no different than Magellan or Marco Polo, I am guided by what burns. Some nights I step onto the back porch. The prow of it charges the blackness, while the stars above me sharpen and blur. Inside, I harbor the ache of what is no longer possible.

Greetings

I counted the water towers, I counted the active smokestacks.
These were the breadcrumbs I thought would lead me back. Now
I know it’s possible to drive so far we forget why we left, that the
journey continues even after the car breaks down. I used to think
I had no message, but the message is me—bloodshot and hungry,
spilled coffee down the front of my shirt. People of the future,
gather round. I have traveled through ink to greet you.

Garden State Racetrack

When I was ten, the grandstand burned to the ground in the next town over. The black smoke galloped into the air right over our house, and ash the size of silver dollars began landing on the lawn. Later, when we heard what happened, we believed it was the smoke of horses, the smoke of our drunk fathers, the smoke of the money that would not feed us. I remember that the ash dissolved when I picked it up, that I had to scrub my hands twice to get rid of it. The following morning we would ride our bikes to make certain what had burned.