Charlotte Pence

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Charlotte Pence

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Charlotte Pence is the author of Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), The Branches, the Axe, the Missing (winner of the BLP Black River chapbook prize), and Weaves a Clear Night (winner of Flying Trout chapbook prize). A professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, Pence also edited The Poetics of Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi, 2012), which explores the intersections between poetry and songs.

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The Branches, the Axe, the ...

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Many Small Fires

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Weaves A Clear Night

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The Writer's Path: Creative...

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The Poetics of American Son...

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Grist: The Journal for Writers

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Battle at the Bleak House: ...

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Pririe Schooner (Summer 201...

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Why Lyrics Last: ...
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Charlotte's Recent Updates

Charlotte Pence is now friends with Sharon Fox
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Hum by Jamaal May
Hum
by Jamaal May (Goodreads Author)
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Memorial by Alice Oswald
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The Game of Boxes by Catherine Barnett
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The Game of Boxes by Catherine Barnett
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Simply put, one of my favorite poetry books that I've read lately. Surprising. Haunting in a delicious way.
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Country of Ghost by Gaylord Brewer
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Intriguing sequence of poems often told in second-person that follow the daily activities of a ghost who trims his nails, wakes with a hangover, and begins to think about his Deathday party. At times, Ghost feels like a mask for the poet, but what’s ...more
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Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück
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As an admirer of Glück’s work, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. (Winning the National Book Award does raise one’s hopes.) Whereas proverse (that combination of poetry and prose) can have such a startling impact, in this collection too many l ...more
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date: March 21, 2015 07:00PM
location: Pittsburgh: Chatham Village Clubhouse, 655 Pennridge Road, Pittsburgh, PA, The United States
description: Cocktails and cheer, plus readings by Black Lawrence Press authors Laura McCullough, Craig Bernier, and Charlotte Pence.
Charlotte Pence added a photo
More of Charlotte's books…
“COLLEGE VISIT IN AUTUMN"

All morning the parents steal memories from their

children. A father passes an old elm where

a sugar maple now stands, remembers a girl who read Eliot

under the tree, her long, bare legs stretched out

as if her life had never required hurry.


The tour guide shows an empty classroom and a mother

hears her old professor: Question, question everything,

especially when you have no questions.

Their children trail but dare not smile

having decided all of this is adult.


As I walk by the group, I hear it, one girl speaking

to her mother—it is my voice, was my voice,

and I see the mother’s watery eyes, their whites yellowed

like old photographs. The daughter says,

“We should eat now. Before you get too tired.”


The girl is hit with autumn sun—so bright

that it breaks on her scalp, white, falls down

over her feet, falls as if

the sun is something tangible

to scoop off the ground for later use.


The mother nods as the guide explains that the city campus

once was a farm with deer and bear. The mother looks up

the grassy hill as if to see one of them

passing by on its way to the creek.

The daughter asks, “Mother, are you listening to me?”


The tone is what had been my own, and probably my mother’s

before that. The memories, the moments slip from one to the next

with a slow flutter, like a girl’s yellow hair-ribbon sliding

off her braid as she races down the hill toward the creek,

toward the doe she wants to come to the edge.”
Charlotte Pence

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