Discipline: Literature – nonfiction

Charlotte Pence

Discipline: Literature – nonfiction
Region: Charleston, IL
MacDowell Fellowships: 2024

Charlotte Pence is Mobile Alambama's inaugural poet laureate whose most recent book of poems, Code, received the 2020 Book of the Year award from APS and was shortlisted for Best Indie Poetry Books of 2020 by Foreword Reviews. Code details not only the life cycle of birth and death, but also the means of this cycle: DNA itself.

Her first book of poems, Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), received an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award from Foreword Reviews. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, Brevity, and featured on The Slowdown.

A graduate of Emerson College (M.F.A.) and the University of Tennessee (Ph.D.), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

While at MacDowell, Pence revised her memoir-in-progress titled Gardening in the Dark. From Peter Pan to Harry Potter, young adult literature often begins with the parents suddenly vanishing, because of an unexpected trip, illness, or death. When Charlotte was nine and her brother 15, they experienced just such a vanishing. Overnight, they realized they would need to figure out how to run a house, earn income, and care for their incapacitated mother, which is the subject of this memoir.


New Jersey

Charlotte Pence worked in the New Jersey studio.

The yellow clapboard New Jersey Studio, located on a grassy, sloping site, was funded by the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs and built as an exact replica of Monday Music Studio (1913). The studio’s porch rests on fieldstone piers that increase in height as the ground slopes to the west. Like Monday Music Studio, New Jersey…

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