Many-Small-Fires-cover-finalMany Small Fires is Now Available!












“In this marvelous debut collection, Charlotte Pence provides us with all the pleasures of poetic tension. We have the pull of narrative and the flares of the lyric, the graceful rhythm of blank verse and the thrill of innovative forms, the contest for survival both between a father and a daughter and between Homo Sapiens and other species within our genus…. In language that is sometimes word-crunchy and dense, sometimes delightfully simple (“In her small life, she is happier than before”), Pence’s Many Small Fires is a beautiful, necessary book. Come, warm your hands.”

—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables

“…A delightful and disturbing read. A flurry of allusions, of histories, of personal disasters, all of it lightened with insight and a sly, sexy humor.”

—Arthur Smith, author of The Fortunate Era


Charlotte Pence is a poet and critic who recently received her Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Tennessee. She is the author of two chapbooks, Weaves a Clear Night (Winner of the Flying Trout Chapbook Award, 2011) and The Branches, the Axe, the Missing (Winner of the Black River Chapbook Award, 2012). Read more >>

U P C O M I N G   E V E N TS

Jump to Events for more >>

Reading at The Poetry Foundation, Chicago

Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Charlotte will be reading with Derick Ledermann at the Open Door Readings.

AWP Off-Site Reading with Black Lawrence Press Authors

Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2015
Time: 7:30 at Kieran’s Irish Pub, corner of 6th St and 1st Ave.
Always a dynamic event (with free food and drinks) at AWP. Don’t Miss It!

Book Signing at AWP, Minneapolis

Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2015
Time: 4-5 at the Black Lawrence Press Table
Come say hi and check out Charlotte’s new book!

Reading at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Date: Monday, March 30th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. in Hodges Library Auditorium
Returning to her alma mater to read with Bradford Tice.

The Poetics of American Song Lyrics

“This collection of smart, incisive essays positions song lyrics—the choruses we holler in our cars with all the windows down, the verses that leave us misty-eyed while browsing shampoo aisles—as a legitimate and deeply compelling poetic form.”
—Amanda Petrusich, author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music

The Poetics of American Song Lyrics is the first collection of academic essays that regards songs as literature and that identifies intersections between the literary histories of poems and songs. The essayists share a desire to write on lyrics in a way that moves beyond sociological, historical, and autobiographical approaches and explicates songs in relation to poetics. Read more in Books >>

storytellingWHY DO WE LOVE STORY? (Part II.)

We are nearing the end of the semester, but I asked the class to re-visit, in their minds, the summer before they were freshmen at EIU. As a new student, they filled out countless forms, paper and electronic, that pertain to this school: the Panther card, the parking permit, the online access to D2L. Other than being tedious, all of these activities have at their core writing. Writing, which is so often considered a door that opens into a creative journey, was first created out of need, as was all basic inventions. The need was to organize people in one of our other great inventions: the city. Read more in Science and Poetry >>