I am a Southerner, a poet, young mom to two two-and-under, a wife, a believer, an English professor, the oldest of three daughters.

I believe in singing each and every day, a clean kitchen, and  the ever-sustaining powers of coffee.

I like baking things with my two year old, long walks by the river with my husband, a really good line break, letters, and when it rains all day long.

I am always looking for: yardsale vintage typewriters, a reason to visit our hometown favorite bakery, poets I’ve never read before, the quiet moments in busy days

I just published my first book, Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing), this month!

I know more about commas than I care to, every lyric to DCFC’s Transatlanticism, that Tennessee will always be my heart’s home

My writing process is jotting notes in spare moments, when the babies are asleep and the husband is at his night job.



Book 1: Keeping Me Still, by Renee Emerson

I am giving away a copy of my soon to be released (next week!) first book, Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014).
Keeping Me Still is about being a wife, mother, sister, daughter in the South; the spiritual and physical wrestling with questions that are only answered in the living through them.

A sample poem:

My neighbor is cutting down the pines
from her land. A hundred years tall, beckoning
the sky, they attract lightning, she says.

They have become a crushing weight, splinter
of wood piercing her heart, death’s shadow
on her doorstep. In the June haze, they creak
and sway their last; the paper mill bears its scent
from corner to corner in this town.

The chainsaws chirr, and we watch
from the doorstep. I feel a sudden need
to run my fingers across the day old bristle
of your face. You tell me you hate to see
the loss of what should be lasting things.

Already our daughter has lost, at a year old,
the sweet dumpling fat of her thighs,
lengthening with movement. Growing
with our second child, I too feel the rhythm
of loss and gain, the surrender of one for another.

The pines are cut down piece by piece.
Our home illuminated
where the sun has never reached,
and we are given a clearer view
of the indifferent vastness of heaven.

I am also giving away Prairie Fever by Mary Biddinger.  This is Biddinger’s first book, a book I bought on a whim and have reread many times. I love the connection to place and landscape in her poems—it’s something that I feel in my writing too—and how sassy the speakers are in these poems.

A sample poem:

Girl in Chair

The streets sew themselves
a beaded mat you can buy
every night. Catfish in bed
with the rushes. Everything
sleeping deep together.

Needlepoint is half blood
most of the time. You miss
once, twice, by the window.
How else to stitch flowers,
or the red mailbox waiting
for a postman’s blue vest.

All a game of in and out.
Blood waiting to dump
its oxygen, the mosquito
and waxwing, storm fronts
quaking above moths.

A seam-ripper hacks
the work in seconds, string
cut to a quarter. Your love
is the one sunk, midnight
in the Monongahela. How
did you not wake when
the river broke like a pane?


To enter to win a book, please leave your name and email address by midnight, April 30th, 2014, in the comments of this post, and I’ll draw two names from a hat the week of May 1st, 2014.

Don't forget to check out Kelli Russell Agodon's blog where she has the complete list of poetry blogs participating in the giveaway this year. Good luck and happy poetry month!


  1. Awesome idea! Nellene, nellene-benhardus@uiowa.edu :-)

  2. YAY! i love poetry month! Sarah, sarahelenoir@gmail.com

  3. Cathy Clifton clclif@yahoo.com

    Thanks, Mrs. E! :)

  4. LOVE your sample poem. I can't wait to read your book!

    Erin, erinhmount@gmail.com

  5. I'd love to play! thanks -- robertkc@whitman.edu

  6. Thank you!
    Rebecca Loudon

  7. Anonymous8:29 PM

    Happy poetry month! Please enter me in the drawing.

    literaryaustin [at] gmail

  8. Beautiful!
    luvbritlit(at) gmail

  9. Lovely giveaway!


  10. Mary Biddinger is among my favorites - your book looks really interesting too!

    Please add my name to your drawing. Feel free to hop over to my sight and enter. I have a different Biddinger book.

    1. thank you! And I will!

  11. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Sign me up! Thanks for mentioning the Biddinger book. Both giveaways look great. Like the cover of yours. (I am also a southern poet!)

    Feel free to sign up for my giveaway as well!


    1. Thank you! And it is always great to meet other Southern writers--whereabouts do you write from ? I'm originally from TN but writing in GA now.

  12. Anonymous7:36 AM

    would love to get your not even yet out book

    thank you for being

    (I was too late to join the giveaway officially but decided to pirate it any way and will be giving few books. Feel free and welcomed to drop by and see if there is something in there for you)

  13. on a commenter's behalf:
    Linda Hofke

  14. Heather, heathercadenhead@gmail.com

  15. Hi Renee, thanks for doing this giveaway! I'd love to win either one of the collections. My name is Brian Wong and my e-mail is: thebripod@gmail.com

  16. Throw my name in the hat please. Thank you!

  17. Congratulations, Renee, on your new book! Love the poem. And I'm also a fan of Mary's work. Please toss my name into the hat. My email is rachel@dacushome.com.

  18. Anonymous12:34 PM

    Hello, I'm late getting around this year. Please add me to the names.

  19. Sign me up, thanks! clarissa.aykroyd@lamda.org.uk

  20. Hello Renee, I am a Southern transplant and would LOVE to win your book, "Keeping Me Still" ....thanks so much for your generosity. ~Marianne Mersereau, marianne4art@yahoo.com

  21. Anonymous9:09 PM

    Please sign me up for your giveaway. I would particularly love to win your book. I really enjoyed your sample poem.


  22. I can't believe April is nearly gone! Sign me up too, please!

  23. Anonymous12:15 PM

    I love your about you and congrats on your first book!!

    Please enter my name in the drawings with the others. =)


  24. Absolutely love your sample poem. Grats on the publication! Add me for the drawing.

    Mary W. Jensen

  25. Please count me in, and thanks for doing this!

  26. Thanks for participating, Renee! Please add me to the list!