What are you working on?
• Promoting my just-released first book, Keeping Me Still
• Revising some new work
• Heartlessly Revising some “Junk” Poems
• Writing curriculum for an online creative writing class
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
There aren’t a ton of women poets writing free verse poetry, with a marked interest in family relationships, the South, the Church and domestic life. There are few that write about the church in a way that isn’t sarcastic, and a marriage that is happy. There are even fewer who have lived in Hickory Withe TN, and were the oldest of three daughters, and had two daughters of their own. And it is rare that a poet is also named Renee Emerson. So I would say my work stands out in that way.
Why do you write what you do?
Because those subjects and people are interesting to me. Domestic poems and babies and marriage might not be extremely interesting to the world at large but they are incredibly interesting to me. And I think like most writers, I write about a thing in order to understand it better, question it, dialogue with it.
How does your writing process work?
Once husband goes to work the night shift, and the kids are fed, bathed, and put down to bed for the night, once the dishes are done and a load of laundry is washing, once I’ve showered and laid out clothes for the next day, once I’ve picked up (most) of the toys off the floor, I write. if I can make the space for it in my day, then I make the most of that space and fill it with a poem.
To get there, I often read other poetry first, sometimes work from lists I’ve made of interesting words, sometimes start with a memory or image or bit of conversation from the day. I handwrite the first couple of drafts, so usually it takes me several nights to get the completed draft. but its work worth doing.
What can you tell me about your writing process and why you write?