Division of Interdisciplinary Inquiry: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Professional Title: M.F.A. Creative Writing Faculty
Areas of Academic Focus and Expertise: Nonfiction, Poetry
Representative List of Recent Courses Taught: Distance-Learning Courses:Creative Writing I - IVCraft and Reflection I - IIIGraduate Seminar PreparationCreative ThesisResidency Seminars:High Fidelity: Lessons from the Art of Poetry TranslationNot Your Father's Foot: Fearless Fun with Fabulous Forms"Fact" versus "Truth": Lessons in Empathetic Writing from Illness Narratives
Education: B.A. Neuroscience and English, Amherst College; M.A. Poetry from Boston University; M.D. Medicine from Harvard Medical School
Representative List of Recent Publications / Exhibitions:
Books of Poetry:
The Enemy (2007)Landscape with Human Figure (2002)Diva (1999)What the Body Told (1996)The Other Man Was Me (1994)Books:The Desire to Heal: A Doctor's Education in Empathy, Identity, andPoetry (1997)The Healing Art: A Doctor's Black Bag of Poetry (2003)
Teaching Philosophy: My interest in poetry is fundamentally engaged with my work as a healer, and this interrelationship informs my approach to teaching. The best poems invite us into an empathetic space, the voice of another consciousness. Thus I try to teach empathically, entering my students' poems with my sensibilities attuned to what - in both craft and content - abets my participation sensuously and intelligently. Spending as much time as I do listening to bodies through my stethoscope, I likewise try to auscultate my students' poems, paying close attention to their music. For this reason, I've long been drawn to so-called formal poetry, so I can help students rediscover meter, rhyme, and other elements of prosody in a way that feels embodied, not imposed.
Awards: Winner of the Sheila Motton Award for the best book of poetry from the New England Poetry Club; he also received their 2008 May Sarton Award, "for a poet whose work is an inspiration to other poets." Rafael was also named the recipient of the American College of Physicians' 2009 Nicholas Davies Memorial Scholar Award, "for outstanding contributions to humanism in medicine." Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; winner of the Lambda Literary Award; National Poetry Series selection; winner of the Lambda Literary Award for memoir; Gold Medal from Forward magazine; Guggenheim Fellowship; honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Amherst College. His work has also been selected for inclusion in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies.
Current Affiliation: Stanford Humanities Center and the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa) Writer-in-Residence, spring 2012.Past Affiliations: Fanny Hurst Visiting Poet at Brandeis University; founding director, Katherine Swan Ginsburg Humanism in Medicine Program at Harvard Medical School; Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA; Squaw Valley Writers Workshop; Centrum Center for the Arts, Port Townsend, WA.
MFA in Creative Writing
Program of Study
Message from the Director
Writing for Stage and Screen
Writing for Young People
Frequently Asked Questions
Letter from Interim Dean Walker
Office of the Dean Staff
Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences Home
Tuition and Fees
888.LESLEY.U / 617.349.8300
Request more information
Schedule a campus visit
Get your application started today!