Charles, who prefers Charley, grew up on a farm in northcentral Pennsylvania that his great-grandfather established in the mid-eighteen hundreds. An only child, he quickly found kinship within the natural world around him and in the world of his imagination.
Immediately after high school, Charley studied anthropology at Lycoming College and at the University of Cincinnati. He taught briefly at Northern Kentucky University. Charley also had a passion for art and art history. He moved to Philadelphia and attended classes at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and the Barnes Foundation. It wasn’t long before he began to show work in the city’s galleries. Today many of his paintings are in private, corporate, academic and museum collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Charley began writing when he experienced what he called “painter’s block.” It wasn’t long before he’d filled notebooks with poems. His writing process would begin with reading, quite often in the middle of the night. He would come across a word or two, a phrase that would spark something from his own experience, real or imaginary. It was vital, he says, to get words down on paper as quickly as possible or else they'd be gone. On occasion a poem formed almost immediately. More often it required lengthy revision. Charley comments he writes pretty much the same way today.