Brown Bag
Lunch Series

Come gather at our table.

Not exactly workshop, not exactly lecture, Porch Brown Bag Lunches are opportunities for writers to explore elements of craft and the writing life. Conversations will be designed and facilitated by Porch instructors as well as experts in the publishing industry.

upcoming events

A Craft Talk by Visiting Writer Charlotte Pence: "Sculpting Another Self: Using Persona in Poetry"

Apr 2
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM CT
The Porch Headquarters, 2811 Dogwood Place, Nashville, TN 37204

Join us for a craft discussion and brunch-time reading with Visiting Writer Charlotte Pence. We'll have coffee and pastries to share, and Pence will read from her work immediately following the discussion.

"Sculpting Another Self: Using Persona in Poetry"

What do Robert Browning, Patricia Smith, T.S. Eliot, Beyoncé, and the Beatles all have in
common? They all have used persona at some point in their careers to expand their subjects,
experiment with technique, and widen their range. At its basic definition, a persona is a
character, distinguished from the poet, who is the speaker of a poem. That definition,
though, hides the radical, imaginative power of personae. If done correctly, a persona can
become its own being who breathes new life into your poetry. In this discussion, Creative
Writing Director at University of South Alabama Charlotte Pence, who is a practitioner of
the persona poem, will offer strategies for creating personae that differ from yourself in
order to reinvigorate your poetry.

About Charlotte:

Charlotte Pence’s new book of poems, Code, received the 2020 Book of the Year award from
Alabama Poetry Society and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews Indie Poetry Book of 2020.
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), won Foreword
’ silver medal award in poetry. Both poetry books weave together personal experience
and scientific exploration. 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, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and
Brevity. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is
now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

Register Here

Find A Journal For Your Writing on Submittable

Apr 27
12:00 - 1:30 PM CST
The Porch Headquarters at 2811 Dogwood Pl, Nashville, TN 37204

It’s a great time to be a writer new to publishing, with over 1,000 online and in-print journals willing to consider your unsolicited work and a single, one-stop, free to use website -- Submittable -- to connect you with almost all of them. This Brown Bag Lunch session will show you how.

Using Submittable, Joseph Hardy has had more than 60 poems accepted by more than 40 journals in the last three years. He offers a “hands-on” how-to session for using the website to connect you to with potential publishers. For the full experience, bring your laptop or tablet and please be ready to log on to Submittable.

In this session, you’ll learn:

• What the Submittable website is, and how it connects you to potential publishers

• The Seven Steps for using Submittable:  

       1. Logging-on and setting up a free account    

        2. Discovering possible publications for your work  

        3. Submitting your work  

        4. Tracking your submissions  

        5. Handling Turndowns  

        6. Handling Acceptances  

        7. Withdrawing work (when accepted elsewhere)

And you’ll leave the session with examples and tips for: cover letters, submissions formats, short “author bios”, and spreadsheets to track your work.


Joseph Hardy lives in Nashville, Tennessee. In the last three years, his work has been published in more than 40 journals, including: Appalachian Review, Cold Mountain Review, Inlandia, and Poet Lore. He is the author of a book of poetry, The Only Light Coming In.


Reviews & Interviews with Amie Whittemore

May 6
12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
The Porch Headquarters at 2811 Dogwood Pl, Nashville, TN 37204

During this Brown Bag Lunch, we'll discuss strategies and motivations for reviewing and interviewing other writers. We'll explore how these two activities, often overlooked and under/unpaid, can enrich your reading life, support fellow writers, and increase awareness about your own creative work.

Amie Whittemore is the author of the poetry collections Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press) and Star-Tent: A Triptych, forthcoming from Tolsun Books. She is the 2020-2021 Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and her poems and prose have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Nashville Review, Smartish Pace, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She is the Reviews Editor for Southern Indiana Review and teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.

Note: This session is scheduled to take place in-person at Porch HQ. You must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate, and we will enroll a maximum of 9 participants. Masks are not required at this time, though we will revisit this policy as needed. Check our website and this listing for details before you attend class.


We’re saving you a seat.

Literary friends, right this way. Membership supports our mission and comes with perks.
Become a Member

stay connected