Black Lawrence Press
April 23, 2014

National Poetry Month: Charlotte Pence

Here at Black Lawrence Press we are celebrating National Poetry Month with a poem a day, featuring a total of 30 authors from our list. Today’s featured poet is Charlotte Pence, author of The Branches, The Axe, The Missing.



Sometimes, a discussion with the family is not possible.
—————————-A woman takes a bike ride alone.
———————————Sees the red bulge of carrion.
—————–A maze of its own muscle on the back road.

—————————A turkey buzzard,
So engorged it doesn’t fly                   when she bikes by.
Rather, it steadies its glare,              and she gives it space.

One could say this is the path
Too often taken:                            One that swerves clear.
———One that prefers a certain type of calm:
—————————Day-burned road-gravel,
—————————Red-flicked and firm.



Pence_Photo_ColorCharlotte Pence’s poetry merges the personal with the scientific by engaging with current evolutionary theory.  Her first full-length poetry collection, Spike, which will be released by Black Lawrence Press in January, explores her father’s chronic homelessness while simultaneously detailing the physiological changes that enabled humans to form communities, households, and cities. A professor of English and creative writing at Eastern Illinois University, she is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi, 2012). New poetry is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver QuarterlyNorth American Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Poetry Anthology.