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Many Small Fires, Pence’s first full-length collection, will be released in January 2015 by Black Lawrence Press.


“I love Charlotte Pence’s electric poems. There’s nothing like emotions under pressure so great they enter the heart like bullets, like water that lies quietly in a pool but leaps from a hose with a force that knocks down doors.”

–David Kirby, author of over 30 books of poetry and collections on soul and rock ‘n’ roll.


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

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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.

Reading at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame

Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2015
Time: TBA

Reading at Belmont University, Nashville

Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
Time: TBA
Reading with the amazing poet Adam Day. (Charlotte seems to read with a lot of people named “Adam.”)

Reading at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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

Reading at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville

Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Home to the fabulous Zone 3 Press and literary journal, Charlotte will be reading with Adam Prince.


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 Research Interests >>