A Journal to Help Remind You
Of Where You've Been
& The Places You'd Like To Go
Some of my favorite souvenirs are the ones I didn’t even pick. A pink flamingo cup my friend Amy sent me from Los Vegas. A crab magnet my friend Natalie brought back from the Virginia shore. But most of all, the things that were once my grandmother's that are now part of my possessions: the commemorative glass of the West Virginia centennial, a turquoise Fiestaware sugar bowl, a bracelet made of shell casings my granddad made her during World War II. The things that were Opal’s are like souvenirs of her life, and although I never knew her, she beat the odds of her cancer, and stayed alive to see me enter the world.
My name is Renée, which is French for “reborn.” My life started in ballet and ended up in writing. My days are spent teaching ballet, teaching writing and other subjects, book reviewing, writing. While my ballet career was cut short by rheumatoid arthritis, I completed American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum, Levels Primary-Seven, and am a member of the Dance Critics Association. I earned an undergraduate degree in English at Butler University and an MFA in Creative Writing at West Virginia University. I write about ballerinas, books, college football, red lipstick, and anything else that captures my attention. My work has appeared in The Superstition Review, Switchback, Naugatuck River Review, ABZ, Paste, Poets & Writers, Fiction Writers Review, Mid American Review, Dossier, Stymie, Linden Avenue, Perigee: A Journal of the Arts, The Gettysburg Review and elsewhere. I co-host the book podcast SummerBooks, am on the book review staff at Los Angeles Review and am a member of the National Books Critics Circle. In 2011, I was the Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Penn State-Altoona. I am also a collector—of books, of vintage bug brooches, of friends, of postcards (housed in a pink hatbox from the old Lazarus department store), of Kate Spade purses. I want to save and share beautiful things—things of conventional and unconventional beauty. To see the value and wonder in both.
Press and Social Media
I'm Dalton. I think my name translates to something representing "town of the valley," but to me it just sounds like a wind caught in a mountain's mouth. I accidentally ended the previous sentence with "mountain's math," which is also honest.
The mountains have always been in my air. I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina, & I went to college in Asheville, where I continue to live at & between. There are mountains everywhere. In the sky. In my grandmother’s hands. In a strange dog’s paw-print’s left in mud, a dog you only saw in passing but you knew right then & there that it was such a significant moment of your life, that you’d one day forget it, & then one day not. I’m inspired by mountains, & anything, really, that looks like it could touch the sky, but never does.
As part of this mountain, I breathe. I drink chocolate milk. I stay soft. I keep petals in my wrist on demand. I go to drag shows. I question & wing & move through gender. I used to have a neighbor that raised peacocks, but when I was a child, beautiful blue-green birds would just appear in the dirt road I lived on. That’s really the only thing people should remember about me.
My work has been published in PANK, Hobart, Jellyfish, Night Block, The Nervous Breakdown, & several others. I wrote a book called Supernova Factory. I wrote another book called Fake Knife. I have a Tumblr where I do a lot of things, both dog & not-dog related: myshoesuntied.tumblr.com. I also tweet because I don’t understand flight: twitter.com/lilghosthands.
Poetry and Website
At eighteen I moved to West Virginia from California to attend West Virginia University, which is where I studied creative writing and political science. I went on to Columbia University for my MFA in poetry, co-founding the Brooklyn reading series: Metro-Rhythm. After that I was on the road a bunch and moved back to West Virginia a little over year ago to write a book. I wrote a book and then moved back to Brooklyn, just months ago. I also discovered that I’m gluten intolerant. If you have cookie recipes send them my way.
Inspired by my Grandparent's home in Morgantown, West Virginia, the place I spent most of my childhood breaks and holidays, and by the story telling that would happen there, I set out to create a porch for people to gather on, to share...
Petrichor is my favorite word, It haunts me. It's a smell that never really leaves me, and is where my head goes when people ask: Where are you from? I feel like much of my understanding was born out of rainy summers and springs, running through the alleyways and yards that surrounded my grandparents' house.
My work is published in or forthcoming from: The Journal, Cutbank, Barn Owl Review, Ilk Journal, Sixth Finch, Powder Keg and Indigest, among others. I currently live in Brooklyn, but for how long, who's to say?