About this poet

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)

The Man Who Is Ready

I’m on the brink of daffodils.
The backyard snow is full of urine
blooms, the mud underneath is ready
to be itself. It won’t be long
before the planet tilts and the birds
roll north like marbles, the sap
crawls out of the bedrock. The meadow's
sublimation makes me feel
like a piece of sky — ready to plummet,
ready to rain. Up on the mountain
the snowcap wishes toward water —
a wildness that doesn't lose pace,
no matter the stones crowding its path,
no matter the roots of everything. Down here
I'm waiting for the ants to arrive
with their shifting script, their message
from below. I'm ready for this page,
this square of softening dirt,
for this garden of almost daffodils
to bang all my air to bells.

Copyright © 2014 Charles Rafferty. “The Man Who Is Ready” originally appeared in The Unleashable Dog (Steel Toe Books, 2014). Reprinted with permission by the author.

 

Copyright © 2014 Charles Rafferty. “The Man Who Is Ready” originally appeared in The Unleashable Dog (Steel Toe Books, 2014). Reprinted with permission by the author.

 

Charles Rafferty

Charles Rafferty

Charles Rafferty is the author of several poetry collections, The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017).

by this poet

poem

Socrates taught Plato and Plato taught Aristotle and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great, who founded a city that would house the most voluminous library of the ancient world — until it was burned, until forgetting came back into vogue. The great minds come down through the years like monkeys descending from high

poem

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

poem

Only one complete poem remains. The rest of it is berries left in the bramble after a visit from midday starlings. For years I couldn't understand how this redaction moved anyone to tears. She was a dampness in the matchbook. But the world is patient. Eventually the diamond travels from the mantle to the finger of