UMW’s Colin Rafferty will be featured on “Getting to Know the Presidents,” set to begin broadcasting Saturday, Jan. 6, on the With Good Reason public radio show. The program, which airs in Fredericksburg on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital on Sunday at 2 p.m., explores America’s Commanders in Chief, including a comparison of Donald Trump’s first year in office to that of other U.S. presidents.
If there’s one thing Rafferty – a Mary Washington associate professor of English and teacher of creative nonfiction – knows better than prose, it’s the United States’ 45 presidents. His current manuscript, a collection of essays about each of them, includes 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.
“Reading and writing about the presidents has let me explore both American history and the expansiveness of creative nonfiction,” said Rafferty, who read a biography of each president before penning his essays. “I’m excited to get to share what I’ve learned with listeners and readers.”
Rafferty, who holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Alabama, 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.
In addition to rookie years spent in the Oval Office, “Getting to Know the Presidents” also examines the National Archives project “Founders Online,” along with insights gained from the handwriting and unusual longevity of some of America’s first Commanders in Chief.
With Good Reason, a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, airs weekly on all of Virginia’s public radio stations and on public radio stations in 34 states across the country. Look online for a complete list of stations and broadcast times or to access audio files of the full “Getting to Know the Presidents” program.