In Galaxie Wagon, Darnell Arnoult navigates the territory of middle age to find humor, heartbreak, and wisdom in a phase of life where the body begins to betray itself, yet romance is still possible and childhood dreams are still attainable. Deceptively simple yet carefully crafted, these engaging poems teach us how memory and attention point us toward our future and grapple with the great paradox: the undeniable knowledge of the finite and an indefatigable belief in the infinite.
A native of Virginia, Darnell Arnoult teaches at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. Her previous collection of poems, What Travels with Us, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the Appalachian Studies Association's Weatherford Award.
Praise for Galaxie Wagon
“You don’t need to know a thing about poetry to fall in love with Galaxie Wagon. It’s an impossible-to-put-down autobiography in verse.”—Herald-Citizen
“Whether you prefer a well-told story or a well-crafted poem . . . Galaxie Wagon offers the best of both worlds. In a compulsively readable voice . . . Arnoult’s storytelling prowess thrives in the individual poems and narrative arc of Galaxie Wagon. At once aesthetically elegant and down-to-earth, this book will carry readers through the switchbacks of life and down a “cosmic highway” that may be new, but feels like the way home.”—Daily News Journal
“[These are] poems that are profound in their pictographic precision. Arnoult explores the temporalities of existence, of love and relationships, the physical body and the aging process, but also whispers into these frustrations an underlying breath of hope.”—Appalachian Heritage
“An absorbing and exultant book of true poetry. Whereas the frailties and strains of life are the primary subject matter, the poems in this collection are determined to arrive at love and grace. Such heights are made evident by the resonant images and precise phrasings that ring like bells on every page. Art is the highest human endeavor, courageous and singular, an implicit investment in hope. This is a book that speaks for the art of being alive in this world and the worth of that great art. Here we have a book of wisdom, a book of beauty.”—Maurice Manning, author of The Gone and the Going Away
“Reading Darnell Arnoult’s Galaxie Wagon is like riding in the passenger seat of some grand old American car, transfixed by the scenery, unconcerned with the destination, and so delighted even more by the beauty and strangeness of where you arrive. This book is a trip worth taking, one that leads deep into the past and its characters, and out into the ether, the abstract realms where the imagination sculpts its figures. Arnoult is a poet with equal gifts of narrative and imagery, and in Galaxie Wagon, you know you are traveling in the company of a great storyteller. Once you have met the man-wrestling gorilla, the aged fortune-teller, the dashing and kind-hearted father, the troubled but loving mother, and the ad-writing Cowboy, you will never forget them.”—Jesse Graves, author of Basin Ghosts and Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine
“If you covet speed and yearning, then ride shotgun with Darnell Arnoult behind the wheel of Galaxie Wagon, her unforgettable new volume of poems. The conversation is stunning, sacramental, even in the plummets and hairpin turns. She not only invests in language but devours it, returning it on the page like canon law, forged in the fiery writ of her ever-channeled ancestors and her unrivaled wit and passion. As she declares in the poem, ‘Fire,’ ‘words / glowed brighter and brighter, carnival-colored embers throbbing on our / unquenchable tongues.’ Shield your eyes and buckle up. Arnoult is a practiced, elegant driver, but her light is often blinding.”—Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012–2014)
Found an Error? Tell us about it.