Jacar Press, September 2016
ISBN: 0936481129, 9780936481128
“Threshing Floor is a serious book of poems in series. These retellings of the Biblical Naomi are compelling and soulful.”
— Denise Duhamel
“Threshing Floor tells the story of three women, their vulnerability and displacement; it will grip and hold women. But, please God, may the book also be read by men—lots of men—because these poems are models of empathy in a world that sorely needs it.”
— Jeanne Murray Walker, author of Helping the Morning: New and Selected Poems
Keeping Me Still
Winter Goose Publishing, April 2014
Paperback and Ebook
ISBN-13: 978 – 1941058114
Keeping Me Still is a collection of poems like keepsakes of what is lost and gained as we move on, grow, and reach for something bigger-always with hope. Renee Emerson’s debut collection of free-verse poetry delves into the spaces between people and the land, moving through the lush landscapes of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia while exploring the complex relationships between mother and daughter, sisters, and husband and wife.
Praise for Keeping Me Still:
“In her poems ornamented with quotidian glimpses of fallen Southern beauty–morning glory vines, signs in front of roadside churches, chiggers in the grass–Renee Emerson sees the South anew. These are stories of love and grace, laced with the leavening mystery of lyric and unflinching in their reaching after the knife-like truths of our living.”
– Bobby C. Rogers, author of Paper Anniversary Winner of the 2009 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
“With a watchful, urgent eye, Renee Emerson has taken in the world as daughter, sister, wife, mother. Here the daily becomes mythic–pregnancies and church services, sibling rivalries and the utterances of other women who judge. Because her landscape is the South, the Bible, with all its portents, layers the poems in this quietly stunning debut. In Emerson’s hands, faith is given the freedom to be complex and difficult, to be human in its failings and its consolations. Apprehension and restlessness trail the speaker in this collection, and with honest, unflinching reflection, she offers her readers neither solutions nor salvation but instead mesmerizing stories set to a music that might help us endure these everyday burdens.”
-Todd Davis, author of In the Kingdom of the Ditch and The Least of These
“Reading Keeping Me Still resembles the pleasure of watching a gifted athlete. Emerson is a swift, muscular noticer: The coyote’s voice resembling a baby’s; Satan with his pitchfork on a country church marquee; A snakes’ coil like a diacritical mark; The moon ‘a mimosa-colored omen . . . God’s thumbnail.’ And the noticing is fierce, ardent rather than ornamental. The book’s central perception guides these images to a central focus: ‘there is something in love/ that calls for blood.'”
-Robert Pinsky, author of Singing School
Online Reviews of Keeping Me Still
“Keeping Me Still by Renee Emerson,” by Christopher Frost, Neon Magazine
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.