Colin Rafferty, Associate Professor of English, writes nonfiction that explores the relationships between history, memory, the self, and the community, and, in the process, he examines the elastic boundaries of the essay form. His most recent essays extends to the Oval Office. Rafferty has written a collection of essays about each of the 45 presidents, including pieces that range from “The Fear” about Martin Van Buren and “Bully” about Theodore Roosevelt to “What They Said About Him” about Barack Obama and “The Imagineer Considers Tomorrow” about Trump. Written as palindromes, death songs, prayers, movie scripts and more, Rafferty’s work has appeared in such prestigious publications as Brevity, Cobalt, Juked, Parcel and Waxwing. He also has been featured on the Virginia Public Radio’s With Good Reason for a segment on “Getting to Know the Presidents.”
Rafferty also wrote Hallow This Ground, published in 2016 by Break Away Books. Inspired by monuments and memorials around the world, the collection covers landmarks as distant as Holocaust memorials in Poland and as close as the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
His research has taken him to the mountains of central Vietnam, the concentration camps of World War II, and the house of Rutherford B. Hayes (twice). Rafferty teaches Creative Writing: Nonfiction and the seminar in Nonfiction, as well as Writing about Food.