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“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 with Maggie Smith, Columbus, Ohio

Date: July 12th, the fanciest and best day of mid-summer.
Location and Time: All House Beer. 7:00-ish (drinks) 7:30-ish (poems)

Vouched Books Presents Curtiss & Pence, Indianapolis

Date: Friday, June 5th
Time and Location: 6:30 @ Print Text

Reading with BLP Authors in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Date: Thursday, June 4th
Time and Location: Mac’s Back-Books, 1820 Coventry Road, 44118
Charlotte will be reading with Mary Biddinger, Brad Ricca, Sandra Kolankiewicz, and John Mauk.

Reading at The Poetry Foundation, Chicago

Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m. at 61 West Superior Street
Charlotte will be reading with David Welch, Laura Wagner, and Derick Ledermann at the Open Door Readings.

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 >>