Craig Erick Chaffin Biography

Craig Erick Chaffin was born in Ventura, CA, in 1954, a second-generation California native. Excluding high school, where he spent his senior year in Germany as an AFS Scholar, his first award came at 17, placing in the Writer’s Digest Poetry Contest. At Goldenwest College he co-founded the literary journal, Carrion, for which he later assumed editorial duties for poetry. Matriculating to UCLA, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude in 1976, winning the Edward Niles Hooker Award for the top honors student in English (though he was not enrolled in the honors program) .

In medical school (UTMB Galveston, class of 1980) he won the Chauncey and Elizabeth Leake Award for the Best Essay in Humanities and Medicine, and the New York Life Scholarship twice. During these years he published frequently, including appearances in national magazines such as Eternity, the Christian Medical Society Journal, and Christianity and Literature. After his psychiatry residency at Michigan State, where he was nominated for the Falk Fellowship, the practice of medicine and his involvement in music limited his publication seeking. Upon his early retirement in 1996 he began publishing again and has had hundreds of poems and essays published since.

His first book of poetry, Elementary, was published by Edwin Mellen Press in 1997. 2002 saw release of The Best of Melic: Three Years Online, an anthology culled from The Melic Review, generally considered one of the top literary e-zines, which he co-founded and edited for eight years until its present hiatus. Many of his critical essays first appeared in that magazine, including the Logopoetry series.

Dr. Chaffin has been included in various anthologies such as Comrades and Voices from the Couch. His journal credits include The Adirondack Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Byline, Contrary, The Cortland Review, Envoi, Kimera, Magma, The Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review, Pif, Rattle, The Pedestal Magazine and The New Zealand Review, among others. While living in Long Beach he read frequently at top venues in Los Angeles as well as east coast venues by invitation. He’s been the featured poet in over twenty magazines, most recently Quill and Parchment. Online publication links can be found at his website,

In addition to his literary activities, Dr. Chaffin has been a featured speaker for the California Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association and has counseled many poets with affective disorders. He was an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at UCI and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians in 1994. He also served as the featured speaker for the California Physicians’ Assistant Convention. As his children are now grown, he lives with his wife and editor, Kathleen Chaffin, in the coastal redwoods of Northern California.